Being A Child of Narcissists – Breaking the Silence

___Halls_of_Blind_____by_HaliestraHalls of Blind by Haliestra

“My mother trained me to tell her everything she does was right. And when I did not agree with her, I was a bad son who betrayed her and then used guilt to keep me. A thought of my own was forbidden. The word “WE” was used a lot as in “We like that person” or “We like that color” there was no “I”. My mother took credit for all my accomplishments. And then manipulated me to do what she always wanted to do with her life so she could live her dreams through me. I confronted my mother and told her to stop using me and she told me I had been abusing her ever since I was a child and my abuse of her is now “Stopped!” I life has never been better.” – the words of the child of a Narcissist in a comment on one of my posts about my own Narcissistic parents. This comment means a lot to me, I hope they don’t mind my using it this way (will delete it if they do).

I am the only child of two Narcissists. I didn’t always know they were Narcissists. I didn’t always know there was anything wrong with the way they behaved. I didn’t always know that they were not like everyone else. However something felt off kilter, but I didn’t know what it was.

Children take everything personally. They are deeply connected to the world around them. The boundaries between self and other have yet to be formed. It is during the early years that those boundaries are formed. The structure of those boundaries depends on the experiences of the formative years. So, if their parents fight, they think it is somehow their fault. If someone they know gets hurt, they believe it might be because of them. Magical thinking has many uses and many forms it takes.

And so I concluded that my feeling of something being wrong was because of me, that I was defective. My parents agreed. Because they were Narcissists, nothing is ever their fault. They are faultless.

There are many similarities between being the child of a Narcissist and being a Narcissist. A child of a Narcissist does not necessarily become a Narcissist. If both parents are Narcissists, the likelihood of the child becoming a Narcissist decreases significantly. The child is caught between conflicting ambitions which the parents have for it, to succeed and to fail simultaneously, and they are programmed to self-destruct should they ever threaten the power and control, the self image, of the Narcissistic parents. SInce Narcissists feel permanently under threat, the child lives in a constant state of tension. The child’s primal instinct urges it to survive at all costs, but their parental programming tells them to sacrifice their life to save the parents.

A child of a Narcissist may not become a Narcissist themselves, but they do absorb the behaviours of their parent, because that is what children do. They are giant sponges dedicated to learning, their brains are super processors, taking in all the information in their immediate environment, and they do it with a speed that most adult brains don’t have.

In a healthy parent/child relationship the child mimicking the parent is viewed as a wonderful thing, and occasionally an annoying one. The parent feels a certain joyful pride in themselves and in the child when a valued trait is passed on, when a bad habit gets passed on, the parent feels a twinge of inner conflict. They’re pleased and slightly displeased. In a moment of frustration the parent swears, the child repeats it… oops.

One of the traits most children of Narcissists share is a sense of being completely alone. This is due to the isolation which Narcissistic parents create for the child, and it is also due to absorbing the fundamental loneliness of a Narcissist.

All families have family secrets. In the family of a Narcissist the secrecy becomes a prison of silence.

Most children who are abused keep quiet about the abuse. The child of Narcissists does this to protect their parents, to protect themselves by protecting their main caretakers, but also because there are usually no bruises or broken bones or any other tangible signs of abuse.

Narcissistic parents tend to look very good on the outside, they project the perfected image of the perfect parent who happens to have an imperfect child. They cover their asses efficiently, using their charm, their power to control how others perceive them and those whom the Narcissist considers an enemy (which is how a Narcissist views their child – the child knows too much) and their ability to hypnotise those who come into contact with them, in such a way that there is no escape for the child.

So if the child of a Narcissist speaks up and out against their parents, they will not be believed, and they will most likely be scolded by society for doing it. Their feeling that they are the bad one, defective, is reinforced. They retreat into silence. They are alone in a world full of people who are against them.

If you meet the child of a Narcissist, you will not pick up on any of this unless you are very sensitive and perceptive, and even then you won’t know what it is or why it is. You will probably conclude that there is something wrong with them, perhaps you’ll even brand them a Narcissist. It’s a trending accusation.

The child of a Narcissist will probably accept the accusation. They are used to be accused of things they are not, they know the simplest thing to do is accept it. A real Narcissist will not accept any accusations at all. They’re not the Narcissist, you are! Everything that they are which is bad is what you are, and they’ll use you to prove it! Everything about you which is good is what they are, not you, you’re all bad!

Want to be completely messed up in the mind? Have a relationship with a Narcissist.

Want to feel like a Narcissist, sure of yourself, perfect, beautiful, powerful, with no regrets, and omnipotent? Have a relationship with a child of Narcissists. They know how to bring out the best in people, it sometimes backfires and turns into the worst. If I had monetary compensation for every time I thought – Oh dear, I’ve created a monster…

People are starved of encouragement. Give them too much of it when they’ve had too little… and you can turn pretty much anyone into a Narcissist even if it is temporary insanity. They’ll get over it once you get out of their life. Or maybe they were an inverted Narcissist who needed a nudge.

Hard to tell sometimes, we live in a Narcissistic age. Society’s obsession with Vampires is society’s obsession with Narcissism in archetype form. What about Zombies… perhaps an archetype for the inverted Narcissist. With more Narcissists in this world, it means there are more children of Narcissists… but they always get forgotten.

The children of Narcissists are used to being invisible. Being invisible does not mean that you can’t see what is both visible and invisible.

The child of a Narcissist has absorbed all the ‘skills’ of a Narcissist, plus a few more which are the gifts the child of a Narcissist must develop to survive being the child of a Narcissist. They can pretend to be who they are not and do it very convincingly. They do this to deceive, but not in the way a Narcissist does. They are not deceiving to get anything from the deception or the one deceived by it… other than to be left alone.

They do not trust anyone. They are alone. They have learned that the world is hostile to them. They deceive because the world wants to be deceived and does not want to know the truth. They learned this when they tried to speak up, ask for help, and were rejected as liars and worse than that.

You do not care, you just pretend to care, you have an ulterior motive for caring and it is all about you, getting me to care for you. I am alone in a world made of you.

The children of Narcissists tend to attract Narcissists more than anyone else. Why?

Not because they were trained to be highly empathic, to meet others’ needs and sacrifice their own needs for the needs of others. This is a skill which attracts, but not just Narcissists. Everyone in the world hurts, and children of Narcissists are tuned into this pain. They feel it and understand it, they also understand that that pain needs to be acknowledged and that the person in pain wants to be protected from what is hurting them. They offer a safe haven.

Tell me your pain, I will give you balm. I will protect you from seeing what you do not want to see, how you are the one causing your own pain. I will help you deny what you want to deny, and offer you an ear to talk into. I will listen to your pain talking and never react to it even when you hurt me. I will remain detached. I will empty myself so that you can fill me with your projections, your worst and your ideals. You need to express yourself, your pain. I do not.

What Narcissists find most attractive is the ability to bury a secret in a silence so profound no one will ever know it is there.

Tell me a secret and even you won’t know I know it. Unless I remind you, and I won’t do that. Your secret is in a safe so safe no one will ever find it.

Children of Narcissists live in silence. Alone. Sometimes lost. Sometimes they are the least lost person on the planet, but that is not a consolation. They are still alone in a world full of lost people. People who are lost are seeking to be found. Those seeking to be found don’t always like being found. Hide and seek… do you win if you are found or lose?

I know how to find you because I have been lost and know the nature of being lost. But you don’t seem happy about being found. I’ll pretend that I haven’t found you so you can find another hiding place…

When you abandon me because I know too much, see too much, feel too much, I will accept it. I don’t blame you, the fault is mine.

I am the child of Narcissists. It’s not their fault they had me, it’s mine. It’s not your fault I can see you, it’s mine…

I’ll close my eyes… Shhhh… one, two, three, four… one hundred and two… ready or not… I’ll wait a bit more to give you more time…

Please note: Don’t ever feel sorry for or pity the children of Narcissists… Just Don’t! Being alone makes us very self-reliant. We don’t need your pity, we see what lies behind it. It also reminds us of things we’d rather forget… our memories are better than elephants.

If you want to give us something, give us space to break our silence. Stop judging us. Give us love, we long for that, but not the kind which constricts, censors and burdens, the kind which acknowledges we exist, which frees us to express ourselves, and which encourages us to reveal what we keep hidden, what keeps us in our prison of silence.

Thank you.

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For more on being the Child of Narcissists:

 

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Being a Child of Narcissists – what we need to give to ourselves – a related post on my blog written by MM, offering a powerful and inspiring perspective on being the child of narcissists.

The story of a relationship with a Narcissist: I Am Not Special by Hope – A guest post on my blog by Hope, which offers an insightful perspective on how our childhood experience with our parents affects the path we take as adults and our adult relationships. It gives an inspiring way to view a relationship with a Narcissist.

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Raised By Narcissists – a forum on reddit for children of narcissists.

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The Child Victim of a Narcissistic Personality Disordered parent – an insightful and concise perspective on being the child of a parent with NPD. It covers the effect this has on the child, explains why this kind of abuse goes unseen by those outside of the family, and how difficult it is to speak out about it or confront it.

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Narcissism – Living Without Feelings – A very long and detailed analysis of NPD, which explains how someone develops the disorder, what goes on behind the facade, how the disorder affects the individual who has it, and its effects on others, on children of narcissists, and so much more. If you want to understand NPD, this is an excellent article. Comprehensive and insightful.

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Surviving the Narcissistic Parent: ACoNs (Adult Children of Narcissists)  – a superb account of what it is like to be the child of a narcissistic mother, also applies to a narcissistic father.

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The Narcissistic Family Portrait – this link takes you to a selection of articles on Psychology Today about the dynamics of growing up in a narcissistic family.

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Narcissistic Single Mother and Only Child –  a good overview of the dynamic of being the only child of a Narcissist.

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Narcissistic Mother – a detailed insight into the narcissistic mother as well as a superb list of the different types of narcissistic mothers and their behaviour and intentions.

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Selfishness and Narcissism in Family Relationships & The Drama Triangle by Dr. Lynne Namka – different ways to view and understand the effects of growing up with a narcissist, being in a narcissistic (abusive/unhealthy) family or in a relationship with a narcissist.

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Energy Theft: Toxic Forms of Shame and Guilt – Very insightful insight into the dynamic of being a child of a Narcissist, and how it can cause depression, shame and guilt which sucks the life out of you.

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Parent-Free By Choice – A blog sharing the stories of those who have decided to emancipate themselves from their parents. Link shared with me by Exploreredrose.

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How Do You Forgive Yourself – an article giving an overview of guilt, the different types and uses of guilt, and offering ways to work through it.

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Out of the Fog – Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) – an excellent resource for information on NPD. There is also a forum.

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The Narcissistic Continuum. – a fantastic blog giving in-depth insight,  support and lots of information and so much more. There is also a forum, for those seeking support, advice and information.

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Scoop.it – Victims of Narcissistic Abuse – A great resource for articles and posts on the internet collected in one place.

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Henriette Lazaridis Power: The Narcissist and the Difficult Mother – Beautifully poignant article and personal tale for the Huffington Post, which I found via Scoop.it.

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This Boy – This post expresses beautifully, evocatively and succinctly what it is like to be a child of a Narcissist.

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How To Be An Adult Child Of A Narcissist – A humorous and poignant story of living with the legacy of being a child of a narcissist, and looking for a way to heal.

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Narcissism and the Fruit of Suffering– the blog of my favourite author, whose book Going Mad to Stay Sane helped me to figure out and explain many aspects of my own experience with narcissistic parents, especially my tendency to be self destructive.

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If you want to add a link… use the comments.

And finally, thank you to the other children of Narcissists who have connected with me by commenting on my posts. You know how you have inspired me because you have seen how your inspiration has been absorbed into what I am doing, breaking my silence and understanding it, in my posts. I am grateful, and you know… what that means.

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324 thoughts on “Being A Child of Narcissists – Breaking the Silence

  1. You said it! You have described the brutal existence brilliantly. How I wish I could share your words to explain. But that’s part of the fucking drill. It IS unbelievable! And it’s true. Some parents, who seem so grand and so
    righteous (maybe a bit vain and not actually elegant) can be sick fucks! Who me? Puzzled, stunned, hurt if you ever try to explain why their
    presence is sickening.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      The only one who really needs to understand the sort of people narcissist parents are is the one who has them – if you can explain them to yourself then it frees you up in some ways (unfortunately not completely) from your side of the dynamic. You get some personal power back. Once you realise they’re sick fucks and that sick fuckery is theirs and not yours (as much as they try to make it yours and not theirs), it gives you the ability to create a new approach to them for yourself – they’re the way they are and nothing you say, do or become is going to change that, they will always rinse and repeat.

      Trying to explain them to anyone else is an arduous task, particularly if you’re trying to explain narc parents to someone who doesn’t have narc parents. Most people use their own parents as a template for understanding the parents of others, and most people also tend to soften the edges of their relationship with their parents (because they’re their parents and thus excuses must be made for mistakes and painful mess, forgive and forget and soldier on), and therefore aren’t really open to hearing the hard truth about how certain parents can be as it can trigger all sorts of discomfort for them about their own relationship with their parents. People tend to like the “parents love you no matter what” fairy tale. So if you try to explain narc parents to someone who doesn’t have narc parents they won’t compute what you’re telling them, and at some point you’ll hear those words “but they’re your parents…” and your parents love you, blah, blah, blah… or you’ll get a “poor you” which is frustrating as pity is not what you’re after.

      Narcissist parents are a burden to their children in so many different ways, but this is a secret which must never be revealed, instead the party line has to be – look at what an extraordinary family we are!

      Narc parents like to think everyone envies their children for having such different and amazing parents…

      Take good care of yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, so very much, for your beautiful and honest words. I too am an only child with two narcissistic parents. I only very recently came to realize that my mother was also a narcissist, and my dad wasn’t the only “crazy” abussive one. He just expressed it in more aggressive ways. Knowing I have two abusive parents has been a painful realization for me, particularly because my mom is still emotionally abusive. I learned to wall up more with my dad emotionally, but my mom (whom I would “escape” to) I always had to protect. Always. I just confronted her about our disfunctional relationship, and although she is of course throwing the blame back at me and trying to kill me with guilt, I feel so much freer, and lighter. I only hope I don’t inadvertently turn my sweet children into narcissists because of my learned “talents”. But being aware is powerful. Again, I thank you for sharing. That isolation feeling you described has lessened significantly in reading this post.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      It sounds as though, like with me, your father was an Overt narcissist while your mother was a Covert narcissist.

      Overt narcissists are easier to spot and deal with (they’re still difficult to deal with but the battle is an open one, you know it’s war from the get-go). They’re more in your face about their narcissism, they’re proud of it and make it a main factor in what they pass on to their children – they will justify being hard on you as teaching you about how hard life can be (they had it hard so why should they make it easy for you and other myths and stories they tell to make their behaviour positive rather than negative).

      All narcissists use ‘spin’ – flipping things around until they smell of roses and everyone else smells of steaming manure.

      Covert narcissists are harder to spot, are often female and their behaviour may get written off as a woman being a women (or as a mother being a ‘good’ mother, smothering her child because she’s being protective – protective = controlling in the case of a covert narc mother), and much harder to deal with because they may take the ‘victim’ stance and once they do that others are either the aggressor (victimiser of the victim) or the ‘hero’ who is supposed to protect them from all the villains they keep finding around them and save them often from themselves (but if you get anywhere near saving them they will turn you into a villain).

      Confronting a parent who is a narcissist is usually not a good idea, however if it is what you need to do for yourself then it is a good idea – as you said, awareness is powerful. And sometimes the only way to confirm for yourself what you already know is to poke the dragon and then get blasted with fire for it.

      Covert narc parents often want to be their child’s best friend – but will revert to authoritarian parent lecturing their misbehaving child in a blink of an eye. They desperately need to maintain control over their version of reality, which includes the persona they’ve adopted and you – the role they’ve given you helps them to maintain their persona.

      It is very liberating to finally see your parents as they are, and it is also a painful experience as you have to let go of all the hopes, dreams and illusions which may have kept you going when you were a child stuck in their world. That particular pain is one that needs to be felt as it is a key that unlocks your shackles.

      It can be hard for a child of narcissists to cut the ties which bind, especially with the covert narc parent who has made us believe that they might die without us (or something similar) or that we can’t live without them.

      Your concerns about inadvertently turning your children into narcissists comes with the territory of growing up as the child of narcissists – this fear is natural and normal for a child of narcissists. It is a fear, this fear does not = what is actually going to happen. When that fear hits keep in mind that you didn’t become a narcissist and you were raised by narcissists. So, you’re most likely to pass onto your children the ability to not be a narcissist, they’ll absorb your strengths, your passion for truth, and your boldness to face reality as it is. You’re also most likely to teach them to feel free to be themselves as they are – this is not something which those who become narcissists get taught. Don’t worry, trust yourself, enjoy being a parent, enjoy getting to know your children and allowing them to get to know you – you have a lot to share and find out 🙂

      Best wishes!

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    1. It took me 53 years to find my answer to everything I knew had been wrong in my life, its as though I have been putting a jigsaw puzzle of my life together, year by year, but it was missing one vital piece, the one piece that would finally link together all the rest to make up an answer I had long given up hope of ever finding, the completion of this puzzle has set me free, the realisation that my mother was a narcissist has changed my life, now everything makes sense, I have read so many harrowing posts over the past weeks, all from daughters of narc mothers, I have been reading my life story in every single one them, and all of them describe my own mother with so much accuracy that it has even brought to the surface many of my childhood memory’s that I had long forgotten, finally I have a name for the frequent violence, the verbal abuse, the screaming, and the crying, that my sister and I lived with, it wasn’t anger, it was narcissist rage, the hurtful degrading comments that have lived within me most of my life can no longer hurt me,
      The realisation that my childhood was not normal started to become apparent shortly after the birth of my second daughter, I had become abnormally
      fearful for my first child, I lived in constant fear of losing her, because I loved her so much I felt I was bound to lose her, I kept it to my self untill my second child came along, and my agony doubled, now I loved two daughters, I felt I was going to lose, I finally broke down, the people who came to help me advised my husband that I needed to see a psychiatrist who had agreed to see me the next day, I owe so much to this wonderful doctor, he gave me my life back, by going back into my childhood we had found the root cause and the reason why I had been living an everyday nightmare that had began with the birth of my first child, something I had experienced as a child had resulted in what he had called a repressed memory, I would have to go back into my childhood to find, and deal with, whatever had happened to cause me to psychologically
      Shut down, reverting back to your own childhood is an ordeal, and it does need a great deal of courage when you remember just how torn up you were at six years of age, I remembered living in fear of Wednesday’s, when my mother would bring out her yellow and black ouiji board turn out all the lights in the house, I remembered the chanting, the twelve people, With their hands over a small glass in the centre of the board, but most of all I remembered that she had told me that the spirit moving the glass, would predict things to come, and what was going to happen in the near future ,
      Later that night, I came downstairs and asked her if the spirit called up that night had told them anything, her answer was yes, and then calmly said, I am going to die two days after Christmas this year, I was six years old, I cried every day for the next 5 months, the pain I felt was indescribable, I went through the greaving prossess for something that was not going to happen,
      Here then was the reason my love for my children had been torturing me,
      From that moment on I was resolved to learn all I could about child psychology, and I was determined that one day I would see them grow into confident, well adjusted adults, that was twenty Severn years ago, I look at them now and I am so proud of them, I will never forget the day that they said to me, that their childhood was the best years of their lives, and wish they could be kids again, even if it were just for a day,
      I only have one regret, that, being the belief that I could help my mother heal within herself through love and understanding, I included her in every thing we did as a family, but it was to no avail, and I went NC six years ago, I took all I was going to take of her abuse, the thing I found odd is the fact that my sister was treated the same way herself, there was no golden child, the most heartbreaking part of this for me is the fact that it was my own eldest child who was to become the golden child ( I have four kids) I foolishly believed that forgiving her and trusting her with my kids, I could help heal her, and bring her some happiness, the result is, I no longer see my eldest daughter, I no longer exist as far as she is concerned, the last time I saw her was in 2014, it’s sad to hear that her brother and sisters try to avoid her most of the time, my mother passed away last year, but the poison of narcissism persists, my daughter has become my mother.

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      1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

        While there often is a golden child and a scapegoat child in a narcissistic family dynamic it is not a hard and fast rule. In some cases the narcissist parent places themselves in the role of golden child and everyone else (their children and spouse) is the scapegoat. They may choose someone outside of the family to be their ‘favourite’, or have someone in their past who maintains that role for them such as a love they lost who they can never forget and who no one else will ever live up to and is constantly compared to, or even a fictitious being as their ‘golden one’. In your mother’s case the ‘spirit’ with which she communicated during her ouija sessions may have been her ‘golden one’.

        The ‘golden child’ does not necessarily have to be the narcissist parent’s child or even a family member. They express the golden child/scapegoat in many ways. Before a narcissist has children the golden child/scapegoat dynamic is present in their dealings with the world around them. If they don’t have children they still have their favourites, their heroes and villains. It is a part of the psychology of the narcissistic wound and the dynamic plays out within the narcissist themselves which is then projected/transferred onto those around them.

        “In its two year old narcissistic phase of development the child is constrained to only think in absolutes. It will not yet have developed the complex psychological mechanisms that permit the acceptance of love and hate existing together towards the same object in the same moment (Klein:1971).

        Psychoanalyst Melanie Klein (1971) coined the term “splitting” to describe this reality where the world around us is seen in either-or terms of the “all good” or “all bad”. The child develops this splitting in its infancy but it still operates in the narcissistic phase of the child’s reality.

        The concept of “splitting” is where the child cannot see the mother both in terms of the “good mother” and the “bad mother” and so creates a magical reality of two separate mothers who each show up from time to time. This preserves the imperative of the “good mother” always being good and not being compromised by hurtful acts against the child. Instead the “bad mother” who is someone else is responsible for the hurtful acts against the child (Klein:1971).” – extract from http://energeticsinstitute.com.au/narcissism/

        For a narcissist parent to do the golden child/scapegoat routine with their children it needs for those children to not have a close bond with each other, and while the narcissist parent can interfere with their children’s relationship, triangulate and cause their children to compete with each other for the parent’s affection, their efforts may not work if the children are particularly close and refuse to cooperate with the narcissist’s games. It could also be that the narcissist parent is not interested in their children – their interest in their children depends on the narcissist needing their children for their own identity purposes and if they get that from somewhere or someone else then they don’t need to play that game with their children. Their narcissist supply is fulfilled elsewhere.

        A narcissist parent does not see their children as children, as individuals, as people, they see them as extensions of themselves, representatives of the narcissist and their identity, as accessories, objects, toys which embody the role that the narcissist needs them to have for the narcissist’s benefit. The golden child represents the ambitions of the narcissist, their ideals, their idea of perfection, while the scapegoat represents what the narcissist rejects of themselves.

        As much as what your daughter is doing by going no contact with you is deeply painful for you, it will also be deeply painful for her too – she did not make the decision to cut off contact with you lightly on a whim. I would advise being careful about seeing her as having ‘become your mother’, and as having been ‘poisoned’ by your mother’s influence, especially since your mother died recently and her death will have had a huge impact upon you even if you were NC from her when she died. She was a big factor in your life, a looming presence, and her death leaves a void. Children of narcissists sometimes replace a narcissist parent with another ‘narcissist parental figure’ with whom to ‘fight’ against because this dynamic is part of their ‘normal’ and without it life can feel very confusing and uncomfortable.

        Rather than see your daughter as your mother.2 see her as the you that you were before you had the courage and strength to face your own inner turmoil, your childhood wounding, the fears and unknown within your psyche. You had to find and own your story before you could become the person who you now are, and your daughter must find and own her story. Respect her as you always have and let your empathy guide you in giving her space, time and compassion to figure things out for herself. Sometimes people need to break free from those who love them for them to find themselves and find out what love really is and means to and for them. Just as you had your journey, she has hers – you know what it’s like to undertake such a journey.

        Take good care of yourself, be gentle on yourself!

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        1. Thank you
          You have given me hope, something I haven’t had in a long time, also you a right about sibling closeness, my sister is eight years older than myself we were never really close, we have become closer now than we have ever been since our mother passed away.

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  3. I need help, advice & guidance please. I know a seven year old girl with what I think both narcissist/sociopath parents. Her dad is always working really does not spend much time at home because he is not happy. He has issues, he is 30 years old and believes his mother should sacrifice herself and live with him so she could help him pay the household bills while his wife stays home with his daughters. He loves his daughter but she acts and defends her mother with everything. Like I said he is hardly home because of work but on the weekends he takes the family out for his daughter sake. Now to her mother, the mother is the queen of the house she came out pregnant so she would not have to work. Whatever she says goes. Whatever she wants she gets. They play/complement each other well. Back to the seven year old child, I have a 6 year old and we all became very good friend so much so that the girl got very attached to me wanting me to pick her up to sleepover and only wanted to sleep with me not my daughter. I did everything for this little girl just like my daughter, my daughter and her were inseparable. This lasted almost a year an a half. Two months before giving birth the mom sends me a text while I was on vacation saying that the girl missed me and how she was so happy that I took very good care of her daughter and that I was like her daughters second mother. Then one month before giving birth the girl was over my house for a sleepover I tell her to call her parents to say good night she starts talking and 1 min later out of nowhere the girl starts crying then telling her mom to pick her up. This was odd, I get on the phone and hear the dad telling his wife that she was not going out at that time to pick her up and that she was ok. I tell the little girl that I was not going to take her home at this time and asked her what happened and she tells me very upset with me that that will be the last time she sleeps in my house. I tell her fine and she was right that was the last time. Her sister was born a month later and she is very protective of her sister. I still did not know or understand but started to connect the dots.
    She goes through something and she start to stutter – that comes and goes
    She sucks her thumb and it gets so bad that she burns the side of her nose and the thumb gets raw.
    She gets what she calls stomach aches to the point that she screams in pains. Has been to the doctors they have run lots of test and they don’t find anything wrong.
    Now she started something new, she started chewing her bottom lip vigorously.
    Ok now this is the thing, she does not want to speak or FaceTime with her father when he is away on work or to her grandmother that lives out of state. Also when she does speak to them or anyone the mother is always present listening to the conversation and sometimes when she is talking she has the need to look at her mother. Two weeks ago she called her grandmother in the middle of the night whispering I love you. Her grandmother asked her why she was calling so late and whispering and she answered that she escaped that her mother was in one room and her dad was in another. That she loved her and then hung up.
    The mother stopped calling me but the little girl kept texting me and when I called her the mom would say that she was doing something and couldn’t come to the phone. I only call her now on her birthday but this year her mother changed her phone number. So I sent her a gift with the grandmother. I love this little girl so much and pray to God to please help her everyday.
    Should I continue to send her a gift for her birthday? What could I do or her grandmother do to help? Should I just walk away?

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      You’re in a very delicate situation, and you’ve been placed in that delicate situation mainly by a child which complicates matters. Children do not operate in the same way as adults, they experience life differently and the rules of interaction are different.

      It’s hard to know what’s going on inside her mind and why she’s doing what she’s doing. She may not be fully aware of what she is doing, or of the effect she is having on you and on others involved in this scenario, and being a child she may be prone to changing her mind, switching sides, opting for alternative tactics for dealing with whatever is bothering her in the moment. For a child of her age life is very dramatic, often in bursts and spurts – and if her mother is having another child then this could be affecting her in a way which ramps up her emotions. Children don’t always know how to deal with emotions and may act out if they have no guidelines to help them cope with such strong waves of feeling and thought in a logical manner.

      You met this child through your own child and this could have a lot to do with why this little girl got attached to you. Maybe she perceives your daughter as being happy in a way that she’s not, as having a mother which she wishes she had and it sounds like she got a major crush on you – but crushes like that have a way of going south and ending up causing problems for everyone.

      Tbh, it sounds like this child is playing everyone off against each other and enjoying the mess she’s creating. That call to her grandmother is odd.

      From what you’ve shared, her parents sound like regular modern parents who may be a bit self-involved but are not necessarily narcissists even if they may behave narcissistically – being narcissistic and being a narcissist is different. They seem to care for their child but they’re busy being busy and self-important, so the care they give their child may not measure up to the expectations which the child has for them.

      Children would love to have the full attention of their parents 24/7. Sometimes children learn that to get the attention of their parents they need to do certain things – which may explain her sudden call to her parents late at night where she demanded that they pick her up from your place and take her home even though nothing had happened for there to be this kind of drama. Perhaps her parents only pay attention to her when she has a drama that is urgent. The fact that her parents did not rush to pick her up means they’re used to her playing these kind of games and they trusted you, knew that she was okay with you and thus the drama she was creating was not real.

      Whatever is going on with her, bottom line is – it’s not your problem to solve. This may seem harsh, especially as she’s pulling quite hard at your heart strings with her story, her texts and so on, but she seems to have people who care for her in her immediate family and you getting involved is less likely to solve anything for her and more likely to cause all sorts of painful headaches for you and for her parents.

      You do have your own child to consider – how is this affecting her or how might it end up affecting her.

      If you cause problems for this child’s parents they may retaliate. However they do seem to be trying to control the issue in a logical and reasonable manner, and don’t want to cause problems for you. But you do need to take the hint they’re giving and back off. No parent likes it when outsiders interfere with how they’re raising their child.

      Since there isn’t evidence of abuse you can’t call child services. Narcissistic abuse is rather difficult to prove and isn’t really something you can go to child services about. That this child wants to escape from her parents is not necessarily a sign of abuse. Her call to her grandmother sounds like a game she is playing, if her grandmother dotes on her then she may simply have been bored and needed doting attention. It sounds like she does something similar with you – seeks your attention when her parents aren’t giving it to her.

      This sounds a bit like this little girl is playing everyone off against each other to get what she wants – attention – on her terms (because she shuns attention when she doesn’t want it). She may be like her mother and be a little queen of the house. It’s hard to tell and there may be more going on, but if whatever is going on isn’t something you can prove beyond the tales told by a child who changes her story when it suits her there’s not much which can be done.

      If I was you I’d heed the lesson learned when she was staying at your house and called her parents to come and get her out of the blue – suddenly you, the person she’s so attached to and loves, became someone she wanted to escape and be rescued from. You didn’t do anything to her but she wanted to leave your house in the middle of the night.

      I would recommend gently cutting the ties which bind.

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      1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.
        Believe me I know what you mean about a little girl playing all the adults. I have four children of my own and they know how to push buttons. But I don’t think that is the case here. I don’t want you to think I’m calling people name by saying that her parents are narcissist. But there is a lot I left out about her parents, because I’m just trying to focus on what is best for her. With the stuttering, sucking her thumb, stomach aches and now chewing her bottom lip. Is a bit of concern. She would try to alleviate the tension in her house by acting silly(dancing, signing or saying jokes) just to make them laugh. You could cut the tension in that house with a knife. You are right no parent likes to be told what to do with their children and I tried not to cross that line. But her mother would do somethings lots of thing that bothered or I just thought was not normal. The little girl wants long hair so bad but the mom keeps cutting her hair every 2-3 months up to her neck(her hair is straight). Also, she will not let her husband go out to share with what he calls friends he could only be with her family and who she wants to consider her friends for the moment. She doesn’t stay friends with people to long. Among all our common friends her parents just call when they need something.
        I don’t want to go on and on, you could be right but this is so weird to me.
        Thank you for your time.

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        1. Sorry, didn’t get to mention my daughter and sons. They were asking a lot for her when she stopped coming around and they would call her or FaceTime but that died with time. They did help me with her birthday gift a month ago and they were happy. She is a very sad child but when they were together she was happy and they treated her like a sister and took care and looked out for her.
          I know I must sound like a jealous mother of a child that is not mine. But one thing is for you to have control of your house and another thing is for you to have power over your house like the mom has. She is a scared and sad child. I just see that every year that passes she gets worst.
          Again thank you, anything you could advise me is appreciated.

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          1. You don’t sound like a ‘jealous mother’ at all, you sound like a very good mother and a caring person who is concerned about a child who is obviously experiencing distress which is making her anxious.

            I don’t think you’re necessarily wrong about her parents (one or both) being narcissists. It can be hard to tell. You obviously have observed certain behaviours and traits which have led you to that as a possibility and I’m sure you did not reach that conclusion lightly or easily.

            Trying to figure out whether someone is a narcissist or not can be tricky. One of the hardest factors is that the actual narcissist may be the one behaving least narcissistically – they drive everyone else crazy and they seem sane in comparison. They’re adept at managing their persona and altering the appearance of others, scapegoating them.

            Relationships are complicated even at the best of times, if a narcissist is involved in the equation the complications become even more complex – appearances will be deceiving and the victim(s) of narcissistic abuse may seem to be the narcissist(s) while the narcissist doesn’t.

            From what you’ve shared the mother does sound very controlling – this could be due to her being a narcissist, but it’s also a symptom of other issues. Anxiety disorders can make a person act out narcissistically in an effort to control what is making them anxious. If the mother suffers from anxiety this would be picked up by osmosis by her daughter. Perhaps the mother has depression which she tries to hide – hence her daughter trying to ‘cheer her up’. Children are very sensitive to the ‘mood’ of the family environment, particularly that of the parent they spend the most time with and rely upon for their care.

            If there is a lot of tension in the home this would affect the child in the home. That tension could be caused by any number of issues which the parents may be having with each other. You mentioned that the father spends a lot of time away from home – this could explain why his wife doesn’t allow him to spend his free time with friends. Maybe she just wants his attention, spend quality time with him. Maybe he had an affair which has been kept quiet so no one else but the two of them know about it – that would also explain her trying to control him. Or he could be using her and blaming her for him doing what he wants or doesn’t want to do – if he’s the narcissist she will get the blame for things that he does, and will use the ‘my wife won’t let me’ excuse, so he’ll look like the good guy and she’ll be the bad guy (and this will increase her stress, making her act out in ways which will prove his point).

            Whatever is going on between the parents will affect their child, and the child may feel the need to solve it because children often take their parents’ relationship personally.

            Whatever is going on in that family, there’s not much that an outsider can do unless invited to do so. If the parents are narcissists (or if one of them is) the moment they perceive interference they will shut it out and shut the person trying to interfere out. Narcissistic parents are very adept at maintaining their public persona and also adept at making anyone trying to interfere come across as the ‘bad guy’ while they come across as the ‘good guys’. So if they are narcissists then you have to be very careful in your approach. If they aren’t narcissists being careful is also advised as this is a delicate scenario and whatever is going on may spill over in your direction.

            The grandmother might be able to do something as she is an insider, a member of the family, but it all depends on her ‘role’ in the family and whether she is part of whatever is going on on a deeper level.

            If there is a narcissist in the family they may not be the one who appears to be the narcissist. Narcissistic abuse can be subtle and the victim of the narcissist may end up being scapegoated. Narcissists often use outsiders to gang up on their victim, but they’ll portray the victim as the victimiser and the ganging up will be masked in a cloak of concern and appear to be heroic in some way. So be very careful if you think there’s a narcissist involved in this scenario as it may not be the person who you think is the narcissist. And if there is more than one narcissist (which there may be in a family, or in the extended family – a narcissist often has a narcissist parent) then be extra careful about getting involved.

            There’s a site which you might find helpful – http://www.angriesout.com/ – it’s designed for children and for those concerned about children. It has a lot of information on the impact on children of family issues. There’s a section which deals with narcissists and narcissism in the family – http://nardar.com/

            If you feel that you have to do something for this child I would recommend getting the advice of a professional in such matters. Perhaps talking to a family therapist, a child psychologist (my godfather was one and he was blinded by my parents, even helped them to blame me for their behaviour towards me because his interests lay with making nice with them, so make sure the one you talk to is competent), or someone who works in a similar field and has experience of family dynamics, etc.

            It can be heart wrenching to observe a child suffer and to be powerless to help them. This is a very delicate situation and you may not be able to do anything, especially since you no longer have your children as a connection between you and her, and her parents have been cutting her connection to you (they may perceive that as stopping her from bothering you, or there may be some story she told them which you don’t know about with regards to her time spent with you).

            Have any other mothers in your social circle who have had their children socialise with this child observed what you have, had similar experiences with the child attaching herself to them, or has this only happened with you?

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            1. Thank you so much, I am happy and appreciative of your time.
              From our circle she was only like that with me and my family. The last time they came over to my home was for my daughter’s birthday and she was so happy but very different asking her mom if she could play or if it was ok for me to serve her food. Mind you this is a girl that practically slept every weekend in my house. When her mother said lets go I went and started putting on her shoes and she hugged me and said I wish I could come here everyday very sad. The mom rushed over and asked what did she say and I told her and she let out in a loud voice oh no I can’t be coming here everyday( like saying I can’t come so you can’t come). She didn’t even look up to her mother she justed hugged and gave me a big kiss and her mother was not happy. Again at this point I am still weirded out because I have never met people like this. Then a couple of months later I find her in the market and she told the girl go say hello and then she said hello to me and my children like she needed permission. The children played In the market for awhile they were smiling and having fun. When it was time to leave my children kissed and hugged her she got sad I told her to call me and she told me my mom doesn’t let me borrow her phone so I told her FaceTime from your iPad and she told me I don’t have your number. She leaned back against the post and was about to cry I just hugged her and she told me she loved me all I could do was say goodbye hug and kiss her while the mother watched.
              The mother seems to have everything under control while everyone is fighting around her like her husband and his mother. It’s like she drops a bomb and walks away, she is always cool calm and collective. The grandmother also lived with them for sometime but could not take it anymore always fighting with her son. The grandmother confronted the mom and things just got worst. He does not speak to much with his family everything is about her family. He calls his mother once in a while when he wants to pick a fight with her or when he is tired(he is a truck driver) and needs to stay up talking. About cheating, according to his mom she has cheated on him but she does not know if he has cheated on her. The grandmother is only able to talk to her granddaughters when the mom wants( she calls her mother in law out of the blue and says here talk to your grandmother). That is strange. But I tell the grandmother to have patience and not fight with her daughter in law because she looks bad, people have told her how she goes around saying that she is jealous of her. Nobody knows what runs through people’s head and why they do what they do. But I see these people without any emotions not caring of others people’s pain. They hurt people and keep moving to there next fix. The sad thing is that she spends much of her time with the mom and even through you don’t want to you learn bad things her mom is her teacher. She will also start to manipulate things to her liking, like I said every year she gets worst(sad, withdrawn) but I think if she keeps seeing her mom get her way she will think it’s ok for her to do the same.
              I could tell you the mom loves taking family pictures, that is really the only time you see her smile.
              I will read the links that you provided. I think keeping my distance and just keep sending her a gift for her birthday is best. It’s like you said there is not much I could do. I will just pray for her.
              Again thank you some much for listening to me on and on.
              If you would like to pick my brain for anything don’t hesitate to ask.
              Thank you

              Like

  4. I cried all last night because i had a mixture of emotions of happiness, sadness, feeling the feeling of Finally i understand why i have been so unstable for so….long. I have BPD and never understood why i was so extreme and my emotions were all over the place. I never learned how to cope. Reading your article reminded me so…..much of Me and my Father how he treated me how crazy and Mentally challenged he made me feel. How nothing was ever his fault. Your article reminded me that i was never stupid or weak those were the projections of my father on to me. Im struggling with loving myself right now and not going back to old habits of being a door mat because that is not who i am jusy who i was molded to be. Your article reminded me….that im not any of thosr things im a Strong!! Mothet anf wife who deserves dignity and self love and feeling normal what ever that means. Thank you for your insight and sharing your story. We are Worthy of love! We are Surviors!!

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      It’s easy to feel stupid and weak, others help us to feel this way, stick a label on us so we can carry it around with us and think that it is us. Figuring out that we’re not who we thought we were and that maybe the things which are ‘wrong’ with us don’t belong to us… or maybe are right reactions to what is wrong with others… can be hard and also liberating.

      Some people have a way of making those who are smart and strong feel the opposite of what they are and they always have proof while you don’t because you didn’t think you needed proof.

      Focus on your strength and intelligence and let it shine! 🙂

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  5. My mom is annoying AF, primarily because she loves to point out how I’m a pain in her life, but she doesnt point out or notice when im helpful, unless im brutally obvious about it. Plus I’m trying to overcome a pornography addiction. I made the mistake of telling her about it and now she just uses it as emotional leverage when we get into serious arguments.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Telling anyone about something you’re going through which they haven’t experienced themselves is always tricky as they may not be able to empathise or understand because of the lack of personal experience in the matter. Some people can be cruel (unintentionally sometimes) or cold when they can’t empathise or understand what you’re going through even if they’re normally empathic.

      Using your addiction as emotional blackmail is absolutely not on. Unfortunately people tend to use against us what we give them particularly during an argument. And in a parent/child relationship there is always a struggle for power and control and underhand tactics are often used to gain the upper hand.

      Telling your mother that you have a pornography addiction is interesting – why did you tell her about it. Usually children and parents do not share their sexual life with each other because it crosses a rather weird boundary of TMI which the respective sides do not want to know about each other. Do you normally share information about your sex life with her? And does she normally use what you tell her against you? Do you ever use what she tells you against her?

      Just a suggestion but it may be worth finding out how your mother was treated by her mother/father – a lot of parents replicate the way their parents were with them with their own children. The author Alice Miller has written a lot about this and you might find – The Drama of The Gifted Child a book worth reading. It’s a bit of a case of – It’s my turn now to have that kind of power. She may not like doing what she does but can’t stop herself from doing it – it very much depends upon what’s going on with her own self-esteem. She may not be aware that she’s being so critical of you, it may just be part of what she learned about being a parent from her parents. She could also be doing to you what she feels is being done to her, perhaps she feels unappreciated – that’s often an issue parents have with their children (and with their spouses) and it tends to come out in passive-aggressive ways.

      Do you point out how much of a pain you find her to be and rarely point out when she’s being helpful to you? She could just be doing to you what you’re doing to her, and maybe you’re doing to her what she’s doing to you – we can all get caught up in vicious cycles.

      How someone treats you, including a parent, tends to reflect what’s going on with them more than it does how they perceive you – their perception of you is viewed through the lens of what’s going on with them. Unhappy people tend to lash out at others and pass their misery on, while happy people tend to pass on their positive view of life.

      There are optional ways to handle this sort of situation and relationship dynamic – you have more power in this scenario than you may be aware of having.

      Take good care of yourself!

      Like

  6. Thank you so much for your article. It’s making me cry right now from the realization of how messed up my life is:)

    I’m almost 20 years old, and after kowtowing to my parents my whole life, I have absolutely no sense of self and no idea on what I actually want to do; except that I want to write. I’ve always known that my mother was a narcissist, but after living with my mother for so many years, I think that my dad has acquired the symptoms of narcissism over the years. They both hate each other, and as a child, I would often have to be a maternal figure to my brother and mother, and my dad would confide all of his marital problems to me, his plans for the future, his job woes, financial problems, etc… All to an eight year old child. I could always recognize in my mother her mental illness, and because of that, I learned not to trust her early on. But with my Dad, his symptoms weren’t that present. Since I never had a relationship with my mother, my dad was both my mother and father. I completely idolized him and I wanted to be like him, because I disdained the idea of being like my exceedingly beautiful, but tragic mother who was more interested in criticizing me and only caring if I ate or not due to my Dad’s wrath if the kids weren’t fed.

    I would hold myself up to incredibly high standards, and excel at school. But I wasn’t able to open up emotionally to my Dad at all since he would always change the subject to his own problems or he would dismiss my feelings as worthless. I wasn’t able to tell my Dad my feelings at all, and I would feel terrified when he came into the room and I wanted to tell him something. My dad’s a funny guy, and due to my own coping mechanisms, I tell jokes and people like me for that. I always feel empty, and I hate talking about my feelings. Sometimes I’ll let slip how emotionally neglectful my parents are, but usually in my jovial manner so no one would realize that anything was wrong with me. According to friends of mine, I usually am always happy and joking, when nothing could be further from the truth; I’m depressed, lonely, sad, feel worthless, and can’t stand the way my life is currently going, but from always being ingrained to never talk about your home life to others, I don’t speak.

    Since I’m back home, I’m recognizing my younger brother’s same concerns with my father: that he never listens, talks about himself, and changes the subject all the time. He’s overtly critical. From competitions, I’m able to take any constructive, or not constructive criticism, but if my dad gives me any criticism, I think that I’m useless and it doesn’t matter. From only making a 93, making second place, not swimming fast enough, etc…

    Heck, I even enrolled in classes and extracurriculars that HE wanted me to do, specifically because he never had the opportunity to do so AKA living his childhood through me, and was a stage mother in everything I did. He would yell at me for hours after every game and recital.

    For anything that I liked, he thought they were useless. My dad’s favorite nickname for me are “useless” and “kid”. He would always guilt and manipulate me into making me do things that he wanted me to do, including my college major. He’s always wanted me to be a doctor and I initially came into college majoring in liberal arts, but now I’m studying for a medical career that’s NOT medicine, but with much less school time and more personal time for me. One second he’ll tell me that it’s my life and I have to choose my decisions, the next he’s telling me that only doctors have prestige, and then he says to get into whatever and not to blame him. I’m super confused on that, but I know it’s because he’s trying to manipulate me. My college career has been going pretty awful because I could care less about my science classes, depression, and some truly awful events that occurred. I’ve begged them for psych appointments, but he says that I’m not depressed and he knows me better than “anyone”, especially myself. He wants me to stay with the family after I get a job, is terrified of letting me drive so he tells me that I can’t drive without insurance and refuses to let me give him payment for him. I feel best when he approves of me, but he hates writing and thinks it’s completely dumb.

    On any issue that’s not emotional, but practical, my Dad’s always the person to depend on. He’s always punctual, hard working, successful, charismatic, etc… So it was always hard to realize the toll that it had on me until I was looking it up and seeing how my Dad had many of the symptoms of Narcissism. And how if one of my opinions are different from his, he’ll force them on me and try to make me accept it.

    I really have no idea what to do with all of this, except to be aware? I learned never to trust my mother or take weight in any of her opinions when I was younger due to her narcissism and mental illnesses being more apparent, but I’m shocked that with the way that my father treats my brother and I, it seems that he is also narcissistic in a way. Very loving, but incredibly dismissive and trying to mold us into what we’re not.

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      You’re in both an incredibly powerful position and a completely powerless one – which is something that often happens when you have the kind of awareness which you have but have no idea what to do with it.

      There’s also the problem that anything you do could bring a house of cards (with cards made of bricks) down on top of you.

      Challenge your father and there’ll be hell to pay because your father likes, needs, and wants to be in control. He thinks he knows best and there’s no flexibility there. If you stick to his program and rules, his vision for you then maybe you’ll get a pat on the head and maybe he’ll be happy with you – if he is a narcissist (has NPD) nothing you do will ever be good enough (and the pat on the head is done with a hammer), if he’s not a narcissist but very narcissistic then the same applies with moments of something gentler.

      Do you watch TV? There’s a TV show – Empire – which I’ve been watching recently which is informative about growing up with a narcissistic father – it is fiction so it’s stretched to extremes for the purposes of entertainment, but that can be helpful when trying to understand a complex scenario and dynamic because it simplifies it and makes the subtle obvious by blowing it out of proportion.

      My advice to you at this stage is not to try and do anything too drastic. Keep the status quo until you know more or are ready to take on the kind of power games you’ll trigger if you stand up to him. As the saying goes – knowledge is power – and when dealing with this kind of situation and dynamic, building upon your knowledge and awareness quietly is probably the way to go at this time.

      If you want to be a writer then everything you’re experiencing in your life, including studying medicine/science which you don’t want to study will fuel your creative ability. Sure it helps to study writing and get a degree in literature and the arts because you get benefits by making contacts in the business and having the correct pieces of official paper – but there are a lot of people who are authors who started out in completely different fields. The art world is more flexible than other fields and can be entered at any point in time without necessarily having studied for it. The study helps but isn’t essential.

      Write about what you know – your story as it is right now is one which a lot of people can relate to. The problem you have is one which a lot of people have. The controlling parent is a common experience and a difficult one to deal with. If you wrote a book about it, wrote articles about it for a college paper or an online magazine (perhaps under a pseudonym), blogged about it, you’d probably find that not only do you have an audience but you may get opportunities coming your way which allow you to support the life you want for yourself.

      Since you mention having more personal time – use that personal time to pursue what interests you. If you can’t do it ‘officially’ find an unofficial way to do it. If your father has blocked the easier routes, find a route which he hasn’t blocked – you may have to do things the hard way, but the hard way can be the better way to go sometimes, it requires more mental flexibility, determination, subterfuge and strength (which are useful things to know in life).

      One thing is certain – you’re incredibly smart, talented and able. Sometimes those things can be an Achilles’ Heel. Sometimes being a ‘useless kid’ may be more useful, especially when dealing with someone who is a ‘loving’ control freak.

      He probably doesn’t want you to have pysch appointments because of what that says about him – he’s afraid of being seen as a ‘bad’ father who ‘messed up’ his child. If you really want to get some psych help then you could do it indirectly in a way by which he won’t feel threatened. You could say that you need to study/get psych as part of your medical studies as understanding psychology is useful in business. He does want you to be successful doesn’t he? He does want you to be smarter than others, right? So to get him to support what you want you need to present it to him in a manner which appeals to his vision and vanity.

      This is a useful article for anyone trying to get a narcissist, a narcissistic or controlling person to do what they want:

      http://www.psytalk.info/articles/narcissist.html

      When dealing with someone like your father who thinks he knows what is best for you (and needs to believe that he’s right about it), you need to – Persuade the narcissist (him) that he or she will derive something significant from doing what you want.

      Basically if you can get him to think it’s his idea and in his best interests then you can get him to agree to what you want – because he’ll want it for you and think he’s the one suggesting it and he knows best.

      As for crumbling and feeling useless when your father criticises you, wanting his approval and feeling insecure about getting it – if you were to investigate your father’s relationship with his parents you’d probably find the same dynamic only with him on your side of the equation versus his parents (or one of them) on the other side (on the side he has now with you). Our parents tend to do to us what was done to them, they pass their wound on because they haven’t resolved the issue, they’re playing out the pattern, a very common pattern in human relationships and power games. His insecurities are feeding yours – he needs you to need him for him to feel that he’s useful (he was probably called ‘useless kid’ when he was a child and he’s still trying to prove that he’s not by making others feel useless to make himself feel useful).

      I would recommend reading this book – http://andywhiteblog.com/2015/06/23/going-mad-to-stay-sane/ – and checking out the blog of the author. Helped me to make sense of my own family dynamic and myself.

      This is a forum worth checking out if you want to explore others stories and experiences of having a narcissist parent – https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists

      It can be difficult to deal with the inner conflicts of loving a parent who sometimes makes you not want to love them, who makes you question their love for you. Of having to come to terms with someone who seems to want the best for you yet their best for you feels like anything but the best. Of feeling unheard by those you want to listen to you especially when it comes to your life – but they only hear you when you’re telling them what they want to hear, and they seem to want you to live a life which isn’t yours.

      The inner conflicts which the contradictions in your relationship with him cause are some of the hardest aspects of life to deal with. Give yourself plenty of time to figure things out, and be gentle with yourself about it.

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      1. Thank you!

        To be honest with you, nothing I do will ever really be good enough for him. He lives only to complain and belittle, and he’s never encouraging. I learn with some sense of encouragement, but I can never learn anything with him due to how condescending he is.

        I’ve been watching Empire! It got really ridiculous in the second season, so I gave up watching the last 2 episodes and I’m sort of done with the series. But the first season was excellent and I could really understand what Jamal was going through, but not to that extent- my Dad is nowhere near Lucious Lyon in the slightest, but I can understand Lyon’s characteristics based on his home life.

        Would it be possible for any of this to be inherited? I’m empathetic to a fault, but my mother has BPD/bipolar and narcissism, and my Dad is a narcissistic. It’s sometimes hard to hang out with my friends as much because of being stuck in their family squabble. I just deal with both of them by being nice, making jokes, and going to my room.

        I do want a job and I found a career that gives me time to write, but also money to pay my bills, so an english degree would never really work. I somewhat rebelled against the idea of a medical career for such a long time, that I pursued every other major in college and found that I liked science more than accounting or engineering. I’m interested in more of a midlevel career so that I have a bit less of a responsibility and don’t have to come back home with things to do from work.

        I’ve been thinking of starting a blog, but I haven’t truly found a center of what I want to talk about. I’m someone with a variety of interests, but one’s blog should have some focus, whether it be fitness, motivation, business, pop culture, etc… I can’t see all of it working. I’m interested in writing under a different name entirely for a blog of pop culture.

        There is a lot of conflict. It’s hard to stay motivated in my studies due to knowing what I want to be is not what I’m studying for, but knowing that the only way for me to support myself and write is the only thing that’s keeping me going in a degree that I could care less about. I’m trying to work more on my time management skills and not do the things my Dad wants me to do because he likes them.

        Thank you! I’d like to be useful in some way. Especially through writing. I’ve made some bad decisions in the past because of wanting to be loved by others, only to fall for awful people.

        I told him the same thing about the psych, and he said that the psychologist would “make up a lot of mental illnesses that I don’t have in order to make money off of me”. I can see that for pharmaceutical drugs, but psychologists? Granted, there are some awful psychologists. I have free counseling at my college, so I think I’ll start utilizing that when it opens up again.

        He wants my mom to go to a psych because she clearly has problems, but he refuses to believe that I’m anything like my mother. My mom’s pretty crazy, so I can understand him not wanting to believe that I’m anything like her. But when he wants to hurt me, he says that I’m just like her and it ruins my day.

        At this point, I’m pretty tired of being dependent on my narcissistic family. I really just want to start my own life, which is why I decided to not get into doctor or dentist due to the amount of debt and years it takes to become one. I want to finish school and move out so I can be more independent. I’m getting a job so I can pay for things I would like. I used to have a job, but all the money would go to my college savings account. But I ended up giving that money to my parents due to a full ride and them paying for my lodgings. I was OK with them taking my money to do that.

        Ironically enough, my Dad was the favorite kid, and my uncles who were all older than him are still jealous to this day! These men are in their 60s and they’re jealous of my Dad getting all of the education and attention back then! His parents were incredibly supportive in everything that he did, and he was smart enough to study at a school far away from his family members when he was in middle school, so he really didn’t have anyone like this. I really think this is more to do with how he changed due to being married to my mother since he was nothing like this when I was younger. He was much more supportive when I was little, but I think that the longer you’re married to someone, the more you pick up their traits and habits. My mom is actually not as belittling as my Dad is, ironically. It could also be a cultural thing. I’m not really sure. I know my Dad’s childhood pretty well, but know next to nothing about my mother’s.

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        1. There’s an advantage to knowing the story of your parents as it can give you insight into their behaviour and allow you to separate it from yourself. Much of what they do to you isn’t about you – it’s about them and the stories which haunt them. Even if you don’t know it, you can guess it based on your experience of them, on how they treat you, because when someone becomes a parent it often activates the dynamics of their own childhood – with them taking on the role of their parent (the one who had the most influence and impact on them).

          Your dad being ‘the favourite’ actually explains why he is so hard on you – being the favourite often comes with great expectations. It’s a big IOU. All that support you get as ‘the favourite’ is an investment in you living up to the fantasies which those supporting you have for you. So what your dad is doing to you is a version of what was done to him. Chances are if he were to ever be open about what motivates him it’s probably that he never felt he could live up to what people expected of him, that he was ‘never good enough’ – but for him that’s a driving force to keep trying to live up to some high ideal whereas for you it’s suffocating.

          We all react differently to the stimulus we get. One person’s energy drink is someone else’s poison.

          You should check out – Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller.

          This is an article written by a psychologist about their take of that book’s message – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/suffer-the-children/201206/the-drama-the-gifted-child

          You’ve actually got an advantage knowing that nothing you ever do will be good enough for your dad – but to gain the advantage you have to let go of wanting to achieve the impossible. Once you stop trying to be good enough for someone who is never going to let you be then you start living for yourself – make sure that you let yourself know regularly when you’ve done well even if it’s ‘not good enough’. It’s up to you to let yourself know when what you do is good enough. That can be hard to do if you’re used to seeing everything you do as not good enough – work on not doing to yourself what your father does to you. Be your own cheerleader, and let yourself enjoy what makes your heart beat 🙂

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  7. Thank you for this.I am 20 and living with a narcissistic-dictator mother which I have never said no to/refused my entire life ’till a few days ago.She’s obsessed with the idea of seeing me studying abroad,which I have never felt the same way about and period.
    So I finally told her that I have decided to stay in my own country whether she likes it or not.Not a single word has been spoken to me after we fought and sge cursed me,apart from telling everyone that “that asshole she’s been dating is responsible for that,that he’s been turning her against me the one person in the whole world who knows what’s best for her”.However I’ve decided to start living me life/future career as I wish

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Stick to your guns and keep them blazing. This is your life not hers (but she’ll never understand that no matter how often or how succinctly you explain it). And yes, she will see you as brainless and anytime you stand up for yourself and for what you want it will be blamed on someone else influencing you and manipulating you. She has no idea who you are or what you have within you, she wants to live through you and doesn’t want you to have a ‘you’ within.

      My mother did the same with me, blaming my partner for turning me against her, when I finally cut ties with her. She could not for one minute consider that perhaps calling me ‘evil’ because I said no to a demand she made might make me not want to be around her. For all of my life she treated me like a brainless idiot. In some ways she was right about that, after all I listened to her when I really should not have done that.

      Stay strong and ignore the tantrums, the cursing, the emotional blackmail, etc, as best as you can. The more you ignore her and defy her rule of you, the louder and more fractious she will get. You’re damned if you do what she wants and damned if you don’t… so do what you want.

      Best wishes!

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  8. Wow, I am so happy to have found this blog! It is though you are inside my head, echoing my thoughts. Your sensitivity, insightfulness, and honesty are impressive and refreshing. I am a narcissistic abuse survivor and, decades later, still struggling to handle the fallout. Part of my problem is that I stuffed all my emotions for years and had so many repressed memories that I couldn’t recall my childhood traumas clearly anyway. Now it is all coming back and I have to process the grief, shame, anger, etc.

    I found you via another blog and was wondering if you could help me out. Where I can find this post of yours? I tried to find it via search engine to no avail.

    http://n-searcher.blogspot.com/

    Thank you so much! Your writings are much appreciated.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      The post on N-searcher’s blog which links to my blog doesn’t contain an extract from one of my posts, it contains an extract from an article – http://energeticsinstitute.com.au/narcissism/ – which I recommend regularly to those looking to understand narcissists.

      Another recommendation which I often give to children of narcissists is this book – http://andywhiteblog.com/2015/06/23/going-mad-to-stay-sane/ – it helped me understand my own childhood experience. It’s not specifically about narcissistic abuse but it captures what it is like to grow up with narcissist parents, and how that subsequently affects you as an adult. Andy White has some excellent posts on his blog about narcissism and narcissists, his father was a narcissist so he has first hand knowledge as well as being a mental health professional.

      I once read in a book, I think it was one by Thomas Moore, that the things we repress and suppress tend to only re-emerge from where we’ve hidden them when we feel safe enough to tackle them. They wait until we’re ready and able to deal with what we couldn’t deal with before. It can be overwhelming to face the past and see it like we’ve never seen it before. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself plenty of time to process it at your own pace.

      Take good care of yourself!

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      1. Thank you! I do have a quick question for you: Any tips on dealing with suppressed rage? I have been told to beat a beanbag with a baseball bat, but didn’t have much luck (too much imagination required?)…

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        1. That’s a good question!

          When I was a child I used to scream into a pillow, I found that rather helpful to release pressure, but I was always a bit worried that someone might hear me. I preferred screaming underwater.

          When I was older I used to go for very long walks – walking very fast and as far as I could go until I ran out of steam. Some people run when they’re angry. If I couldn’t get out to walk, I sometimes moved all the furniture in my room – moving and rearranging it required concentration and planning, that helped my mind focus.

          Suppressed rage can give you a lot of physical stamina and power, and doing physical exercise releases some great chemicals which can balance out your system while also using up excess rage as fuel.

          If you’re not into exercise – find something you love doing and channel the rage into it. Rage can be creative as well as destructive… some forms of destruction can be used creatively.

          Keeping the rage trapped and suppressed requires a lot of energy and is exhausting, it can suck the will to do anything out of you.

          These days I would use writing to vent any suppressed rage, it is cathartic and it can also help to solve internal puzzles. You can learn a lot about yourself by writing about what you’re thinking and feeling, and it can help you to understand your rage better. Rage loves to be heard and understood as it often is angry because it has something to tell us and we’re not listening, instead we’re trying to shut it up. A certain part of my rage had nothing to do with anger, the anger was a by product of other things. I tend to get furious when I feel trapped. Writing has released me from quite a few traps.

          Social media is used by quite a few people to release rage, but it can attract angry people to you when you express rage online.

          Find something you’re passionate about and fuel the passion with the rage.

          Rage is also useful when dealing with narcissists – staying angry keeps you on your toes and less likely to forgive and forget and let them walk all over you again.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. I have spent twenty three years of my life with my narcissist parents. My mother always had me all to herself. She would want to know everything about my life which was little because she had brainwashed me to stay away from my friends in school for two years of high school. She used to brainwash me that I was superior and had to behave differently while the rest of my batchmates were ‘rotten vegetables’ in her words.Before few months, she had completely isolated me from the rest of the people esp. of my generation by passing lewd comments on the dresses that the women of my generation wear and by saying that in your generation, there are no true friends. My position was very bad so that I randomly messaged people on my friends list asking for some sort of help. A kind soul who had been through all this himself, explained everything to me. I am healing now as I have even started taking homeopathic medicines. These people used to make me believe that something was wrong with me. I still live with them and it is terrible because I have to be careful every moment. Also, it is so tough because people will generally accuse me of thinking wrong about my parents because of the way parents are perceived and the image they have made for themselves. Now, however, I have made some friends and telling them of what Ive been through and they have been so supportive and kind. Screw these hellish narcissists! They had successfully ruined every aspect of my life and I had become a vegetable only but for the person who came forward and helped me. I feel very lucky and grateful to this person and to people like you who are courageously writing about it. I have my blog and want to write about my experiences too but I am afraid that if they find out, they will become abusive.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      It’s wonderful to hear that you have managed to see through what your parents were/are doing to you, and that you have found a way to create a haven for yourself while still living with them.

      Look after that haven.

      Keep doing what you have been doing.

      Coming out of the shell into which narcissist parents force their children can be difficult, but it is very worth it.

      Having a supportive group of friends is nurturing and nourishing in so many ways. The friend who was the first to understand you and help you sounds truly lovely. That first person to understand you is someone who is always unforgettable. They give you the first glimpse and experience of the freedom to truly be yourself as you are.

      Don’t try to push yourself to do more than you have until you’re ready to do more. It takes time and each small step is a giant one.

      It does help to write about it, and it has been amazing to share my thoughts and story on my blog, to express myself rather than feel trapped in silence, but if you’re worried that your parents will find out about it you don’t need that added pressure or that kind of anxiety. You could disguise your story in fictional form, but there’ll still be the same risk.

      Narcissists think everything is about them whether it is or it isn’t.

      They are very invasive and when they sense that you’re hiding something from them they become even more intrusive than usual. Which is why it is important to protect your haven, and to keep things low key until you feel ready to do more.

      You’ll always come across criticism for the way that you view your parents. Narcissist parents are very adept at making themselves seem the way that others want to see them, as perfect parents, and they create the illusion that they’re the ‘victims’ of a ‘problem’ child. It’s a difficult illusion to fight, partly because other people don’t want to know what is really going on – they have their own problems and they’d rather not see your problems.

      There is more understanding these days about what it is like to have narcissist parents, the awareness is growing and there’s lots of information out there, however those who tend to be interested in the information are usually those who have lived through the experience. It’s difficult to explain the experience to those who haven’t lived it.

      Take good care of yourself, and trust the process you’re going through.

      These are a couple of sites worth checking out:

      https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/

      http://parentfreebychoice.blogspot.co.uk/

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  10. I have spent what must now must be hours reading not only your so very on-point article but many of your wonderful, considered and insightful responses to the commenters on here. I just have to say I find the human being that came out of this crucible of narcissistic abuse to be amazing. There is sometimes a sense, amongst “survivor” children of narcissists, that we must inevitably be forever “damaged” as a result, that in some ways we will always be “less” due to our experiences, but you are evidence that, just maybe, we can be more. Just on these pages I can see directly how many people you have reached and given hope to – never mind all those who never commented. Thank you for being you!

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Wow… ❤

      I've definitely struggled with the idea that I am 'less'. Sometimes it goes away, I forget about it because I get caught up in just being, but then when I have to do something which 'normal' people do and do without thinking about it as though it is the easiest task in the world and I find myself perplexed and paralysed by it as though it's somehow the hardest thing in the world to do, I remember what mess I am and I plummet into that place where I keep a record of everything that's wrong with me…

      but wait… what if somehow what is wrong with me is a part of what is right with me?

      What if that 'less' is actually part of that 'more'…

      What if the 'damage' is as much of a gift as it can be a curse?

      What have our experiences given to us which we would not have if we hadn't had the experiences?

      We sometimes wonder what life would have been like if our parents had not been narcissists, and we may wonder who we would have been if our circumstances had been different, and sometimes that can be a part of the pain we have, that life not lived and that identity lost. I spent a lot of time and effort thinking about those and focusing on what was wrong, it's hard not to do that when you grow up with narcissists who are always doing that.

      What has helped me the most in recent years is just letting myself be as I am, damage, mess and all, and slowly accepting that, and through accepting it coming to view it from other angles where what seemed like a minus may actually be a plus.

      We're always more than who we think we are, just as narcissists tend to be less than who they think they are. Our parents used to seem like giants, and we were a tiny speck under their feet, and we got used to viewing ourselves and them, and everyone else (as giants too) that way, but… maybe we were all standing in one of those optical illusion rooms which makes people on one end seem like giants and those on the other seem small, when everyone is pretty much the same height.

      Everyone has damage, we're just aware that we do… perhaps that's something which comes under the 'more' 🙂

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  11. I can relate every single word of your writing with mine. It is in a way, liberating, to know that I am not alone and there are thousands of people out there who are fighting the same battle.. I am a 29 year old girl, with a decent job and a prestigious post-graduate degree; I live with my mother, who is a divorcee; I take good care of her, accompany her for shopping, movie, and sometimes for a weekend trip. Outwardly, we have the perfect mother daughter relationship. But the truth behind this is, I am just the unpaid maid-cum-nurse-cum-caretaker of my mom, who thinks the only purpose that I should have in my life is to make her feel happy. And nothing else. She has ruined every other relationship that I had with anyone else than her. I haven’t seen my father after their divorce, my grandma (paternal side) committed suicide, my Daadi (maternal grand mother) also almost starved herself to death; 25 days prior to the date, she forced me to cancel my wedding (My fiancee being the only childhood friend I still have). They all committed one single crime. They were grabbing parts of my attention which made my mother feel insecure. I have recently identified her as a person with serious narcissistic disorder, thanks to internet and several forums I am attending. I had always wondered, why my mom is the way she is, critical, cold, unpredictable, sarcastic, suspicious, regimented and over-confident. All of them, kind of fall in place now. I don’t know how long I’ll be carrying the scars with me, or, even worse, will I ever get rid of them. Still, I promise to myself that I’ll never treat my own children like I was treated by her. NEVER.

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      When I was in my early twenties and living thoroughly under my mother’s rather large thumb which she claimed was dainty but it didn’t feel that way at all, I had a bit of a passion for reading to escape and one of the sort of books I read were old-fashioned and spoke of lady’s companions. I had one of those moments like you did of realising that I was my mother’s companion (which really means that you’re a slave, nurse, carer, general dog’s body, filler of gaps, confidante who must keep all those confidences they share secret – although they spill your beans everywhere to suit them – and you’re owned by her). I even said as much to her and she smiled the sort of smile with which I am sure you’re familiar – it’s a knowing one that is trying to hide what it knows in a coy manner as though they’re as innocent of all things as they like to pretend to be and often convince themselves that they are.

      One of the things my mother liked to tell me – as my ‘best friend’ (a term they sometimes use to make you feel guilty when you want to get away from them) and to make sure I saw her suffocating grip on me as simply being a sign of her ‘protective love’ – was that she was afraid of the day that I would fall in love because I would get hurt and then she’d have to pick up the pieces (that would be annoying and selfish of me as my job was to pick up her pieces). I usually brushed that off when she said it as her being overly dramatic as she always was, and I figured that I’d probably never meet anyone who would fall in love with me (because my mother constantly told me how unlovable I was) but… then I made the mistake of falling in love, and worse still the person I fell in love with returned the feelings. It wasn’t a mistake but she sure as hell went out of her way to try and make it one, and make us both pay for ‘betraying’ her version of reality.

      You’ve got the information and knowledge which you need to help you, be careful that you don’t use it to hurt yourself, such as telling yourself that you’ve been damaged in a way that can’t be healed. Be gentle with yourself. The scars you carry will always hold pain in them, but that kind of pain shows you where you need to apply healing and will also give you a depth and strength of being which will enhance your experience of living and being.

      Our wounds can cause more pain, but they can also be healing for us and for others too as where we hurt is also where others hurt – so scars give the gift of intelligent empathy which is valuable in relationships. Including the one you will one day have with your children – your experience of being a child and the way you were treated by your mother will nourish who you are as a mother.

      Allow yourself to be human and make mistakes so you can learn from them. Narcissists don’t allow themselves to make mistakes or admit to them when they do (which is all the time) so they never learn from them and evolve as beings. They’re stuck in the same place and they drag others into that place… we can get out, they never can.

      One of the ways we get out, which is done gradually in our own time and at our own pace, is through finding those who share a similar experience. The stories of others help us understand our own.

      Keep doing what you are doing, and never give up on yourself. You are finding your way and it can be very scary, awareness does that but it is best to face it than to hide form it, as you are doing. When you worry about being like her… you aren’t her and you never will be. You are you (she’s afraid of you being you and she wants you to be afraid of it too).

      Everything you have experienced will enrich your life, even if it seems as though it doesn’t. There are many blessings to be had from this kind of curse.

      Take good care of yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Very moving, thank you, every word resonates, every single one. My mother is growing older and more dependant and I feel myself increasingly imprisoned. I worked so hard to gain some internal space, a little bit of space in my head that was free, there’s a little bit of ‘self’ forming and she wants to destroy it, take it for herself. I’ve had some good therapy, spent many, many, years in psychotherapy and it’s as if I was barely worthy of it. I feel like I’m drowning again and she’s coming for me. Thanks for the website.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to create an inner haven and protect its privacy, to give ourselves a sanctuary to grow and breathe, be ourselves. It can be very difficult to do that for many reasons, one of the most challenging of which is how it affects them. Because narcissists are so invasive and are constantly monitoring us due to their need to control everything about us because of their intense fear, they immediately sense when we erect private boundaries, and the idea that we’re keeping something from them, that we’ve got a treasure which they don’t have, that we’re shutting them out, sets off all their alarm bells and triggers the worst of them and they become even more relentless in their need to invade us.

      The moment you do anything for yourself it’s like a red rag to a bull for them.

      I once went for a walk. My mother insisted on going with me, but she only went part of the way as I chose a long route which she didn’t want to take. She expected me to stay with her and follow the shorter route she did want to take, but I pushed myself to keep going my way and do something for myself. When I got back from my walk she’d created a drama – she’d fallen over after we parted, broken her wrist and had called in a doctor (who looked at me as though I’d broken her wrist) to tend to her damsel in permanent distress routine. I didn’t go for walks on my own for a long while after that… until I walked out of her life.

      The older they get the crazier they become. They do not mellow or become wiser with age, they regress into an even more infantile state. The narcissistic behaviour and traits become even more pronounced (the plus side of something which only seems to be made of minuses is that outsiders may finally get to see them as they really are and might actually believe our story… but that can feel like too little too late, a bittersweet stinging balm that can’t do much to heal an old wound).

      Narcissist parents think they own their children, mind, body and soul. We’re their property, their broken toys which no one else can play with and which aren’t allowed to be independent of them. We’re also a fountain of youth for them. As they get older, aging triggers a furious desperation in them to stay forever young and also cheat death (my father actually thought he was immortal up until he died) and they become even more determined to suck the life out of you.

      They’ve always been dependent upon us, they’ve always needed us more than we need them, which is partly why they invade us – that drowning feeling is your mother dragging you under, she’s the one who is really drowning but they always transfer their wound onto us – it’s like those drowning victims who end up drowning the person who tried to rescue them because they’re panicking. Their dependency becomes more obvious when they’re older because they’ve most likely alienated everyone else in their lives and we’re the only ones left – and because we’re their child, we’re expected by them and society to take care of them even if it kills us to do it. Got to keep up appearances for the sake of everyone but ourselves.

      I went No Contact with my parents almost 20 years ago. I was lucky to be able to do that, it’s not always possible due to circumstances. It was helpful but I always lived in fear that they’d find me and ruin what I’d managed to salvage. When my father died recently all hell broke loose and for awhile I felt submerged in their effluent again, as though everything I’d done to get away had been useless and I was forever a prisoner of their madness and mess. The experience forced me to revisit that terrible darkness and emptiness, and to face my own terror of annihilation. It also showed me that everything I’d done had not been useless.

      So, everything you’ve done has been worth it even if it doesn’t feel or seem that way at the moment. Everything we do to heal, recover and reclaim our lives has to be tested to prove itself. This is the testing ground where you get to see that in action. It is the return to the old battlefield where you get to see that she can’t destroy your self at all. Their may be what appear to be defeats for you, but her ability to destroy you is an illusion, a powerful one which seems very real, but… think about it logically – the fact that she’s still trying means she’s never succeeded. There is a core self inside of you which has survived everything all of these years, and all her attempts to invade you have failed to get at that core. You’re not drowning, she is… and because she’s a narcissist she transfers her wound to you and makes you believe that you’re the one drowning.

      I used to have this recurring dream where I was drowning, sometimes there would be a creature which dragged me under, usually I drowned because there was a shark and my fear of it caused me to become paralysed and unable to swim, so I sank. In one particularly vivid dream I was trapped in a coffin underwater. I was panicking and a voice (my own) told me to breathe which seemed crazy, but since there was nothing else I could do and since I was going to die anyway I gasped and found that I could breathe underwater.

      You are a survivor, an incredibly strong soul… your mother is the weak one which is why she does what she does to you. Whatever she’s made you believe about yourself – it’s all about her not about you. She wants what you’ve got, but she’ll never get it because it belongs to you and always will. Your self is yours. What our narcissist parents do to us can feel as though our self has been ripped out of us, and the fear can blind us to the fact that our self is intact, it’s actually them who are missing a sense of self which is why they come after ours.

      I read this the other day – https://mirrorgirlblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/close-to-the-edge/ – I think it applies to children of narcissists.

      Take good care of yourself and let your self take care of you ❤

      Like

  13. This article was perfect. I am just now accepting that I am a child of a narcissist and abuse because I chose to be blind to it for so long, and I really appreciate this beautifully written article.

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Being blind to it is part of the coping mechanism we use to live in such a complex family dynamic. If you think about it, what other option do we have as the child of a narcissist. We’re stuck with them, we’re a child and they’re the parent, and at first we think the way they are is normal and that everyone is like that. This is the way it is.

      As we get older and start to realise that there is something not quite right with the picture and relationship, we’re already in deep and it’s not like we can get out.

      Seeing the problem can be too overwhelming, stressful and make things so much worse. Confronting a narcissist parent on their crazy when you’re a child results in them blaming you for being the problem and making you responsible for being the solution to a problem which is theirs but now they’ve made it yours.

      We’re basically saddled with their wound and they expect us to heal it.

      And being blind to them is encouraged in the child by the narcissist parent. We get given the role of the parent who turns a blind eye to the behaviour of their disruptive child because that’s what a good parent is supposed to do when they love their child. It’s very confusing.

      When we’re ready to see, it can take time to take it all in. Years of shielding ourselves from what we know can’t be changed all at once.

      Be gentle with yourself, our tendency is often to be harsh with ourselves. It’s what we’ve grown accustomed to doing, when in doubt, pick on ourselves, blame ourselves, etc. I was anything but gentle when I started out and made things so much more complicated for myself. I’ve found gentleness works better because it was something which was lacking when I was a child and it is a much needed balm and nurturing nourishment.

      The most wonderful part of finally seeing is when you see yourself through your own eyes. When you see yourself no longer through the eyes of your parent. You just see yourself and that’s like coming home to a real home and family.

      Take care of yourself, you’re very worth it!

      Like

  14. I was crying reading this article. I am a child of a father narcissist, my mother died when I was very young, me and my brother have been living with our narcisstic father now. I am 19 and he is 21 years old and we still live in his house and we never go out except for groceries and school. Legally we are adults but in every other way we are still children because we were never treated as adults. We are always like criminals to him, he always assumes us doing bad things. He has terrorised, isolated us, making sure we could not have a social life outside school even just going to church was like a crime. We are in no way prepared for real life as he has not taught us anything at all, not even our first language. He neglects us doesn’t buy us normal things like clothes yet he calls us spoilt. If we want to go out we have to tell him where we are going first and wait for his permission. Whenever we tried to confront him about this calmly when we were younger he would threaten to kick us out of the house and use other various methods to get us to subdue to him admit he is right. Ever since then we no longer bother to confront him or go to normal social things our friends do because he makes it extremely difficult for us. This has negatively affected our relationships with friends because they do not understand this is what we have to deal with. We don’t have any active social lives anymore but it doesn’t affect anyone but us, my father always does as he pleases.

    We have tried to report him to the police and to the courts. We have spoken with psychologists about it, we have told some of our friends and family, some of our family and neighbours even know but nothing is ever done about it. Some think he is not that bad, and he loves us trying to be a good father. Its like nobody wants to believe how terrible he is even though they know the bad things he’s done to us. We have given up on speaking out at this point.

    Just recently I have confronted him again because he was blaming me for something that was not my fault, I defended myself and he tried to gain my sympathy by playing victim but I had none of it and now he is giving me silent treatment. I REFUSE to let him control me and manipulate me and choose my direction in life any longer. I have finished school, I have everything I want to do planned out to leave and live independently but with no real life experience and money at the moment, considering he controls all our finances now, it is almost impossible to do, but I’m not going to give up on my dream and try to gain my freedom. I may not know where my next step will leave me but I still have faith and I believe that something better will come.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I would hazard a guess that those who see your family life from the outside probably excuse your father’s controlling behaviour by reasoning that he was deeply affected by the death of your mother, it made him afraid of losing his loved ones, and therefore he became overly protective of you and your brother. They probably admire him for being such a caring father, and for bringing both of you up on his own. People have a way of romanticising reality, and when it involves a tragic event they can be even more blinkered to what is really going on than usual.

      Narcissists are adept at picking up on what others want to see and hear and then using it to create an ideal veneer for themselves, they often play upon the heart strings of others, using tragedy and drama to disarm people, and this creates a rose-coloured smoke screen. Thus when you try to speak to others about your actual experience of your father, what he is really like and what is really going on in your family, others prefer the smoke screen to the reality.

      Both my parents used that tactic, of portraying themselves as a heroic victim of parenting, and other people were so stirred up by the tales they told that I was regularly lectured, often by strangers, about what a difficult and ungrateful brat I was, and how I should try harder to be a better child for my poor beleaguered parents. That always confused me because my parents were adults and I was a child, it was two of them against one of me, so how on earth could people believe that I was the villain, that I had power over them. Some of the stories were so illogical that I eventually decided all adults were crazy and there was no point expecting anyone to see things as they were.

      Sometimes people surprised me by seeing the reality, but there wasn’t much they could do to help me because they were outsiders.

      It took me a long time to realise that other people were as helpless and powerless as I was to do anything about the situation with my parents. It is very difficult for others to figure out how to help a child of a narcissist, going against a narcissist parent can put them in the line of fire, and narcissists can be very vicious and manipulative when their version of reality is threatened. Most people tend to avoid that kind of conflict, and those who try to help in spite of the risk may end up making things worse rather than better – the narcissist parent will blame their children if others try to interfere and help their children.

      Those who realise that things aren’t as ideal as they seem in your family may not want to get involved or may not know what to do to help you and your brother.

      There are many issues which a child of a narcissist faces which won’t make any sense to people who haven’t experienced a parent who is a narcissist. There are areas where we feel and often are powerless which others just won’t understand, and when you try to explain it to them they’ll end up most likely thinking you’re the one with the problem not your parent, and they’ll give you solutions which just don’t work for you, and they’ll wonder why those solutions don’t work but won’t be able to understand why because the reality you grew up in is vastly different from theirs.

      Those who haven’t experienced a narcissist parent won’t understand how deeply a narcissist can cripple you on things which others think are a given basic of life. They won’t get the extent to which a narcissist makes you dependent upon them and doesn’t allow you to grow up. Narcissists are afraid of being abandoned and when they have children they try to keep them forever infantilised (as they are) and dependent upon them (as they are upon you). Finances are a major source of control they use to keep you under their thumb. Other people may tell you to leave home and get a job to free yourself as though it was easy to do, which it is if your parent isn’t a narcissist and supports your move towards independence, but when your parent is a narcissist that parent doesn’t like it when their hostages try to make a break for freedom. Narcissist parents don’t let go of their children easily. Isolating you from society is another method they use – this one is connected to the narcissist’s own need to remain distanced from others to maintain their version of reality, to have a semblance of control and power, and not have it threatened by the world outside.

      It can be very lonely being the child of a narcissist. Luckily there are some good resources online, more so now than ever before as awareness of narcissist parents and their effects on their children is on the rise. There has been a lot written about the PTSD which comes with being the child of a narcissist. This is a major factor in why we stay attached to our narcissist parent longer than we know is healthy for us, and why we often end up gravitating towards other narcissists in our relationships.

      This is a forum for children of narcissists which offers support and information – https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/

      This is a blog by a daughter of a narcissist father – http://www.rubbershoesinhell.com/how-to-be-an-adult-child-of-a-narcissist/

      This is a good psychology blog for children of narcissists, the author seems to have great insight into the matter and the issues involved – http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/categories/blog/pt-blog/ – this is an interesting article she wrote about how to heal when you’ve grown up with a narcissist parent – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201205/it-s-all-about-me-recovery-adult-children-narcissist

      Keep doing what you are doing, researching NPD, and standing up for your right to be independent. If possible find a support group of your peers who understand the ins and outs of being a child of narcissist. Take good care of yourself and be gentle with yourself.

      Like

  15. Thank you so much for this. I am still not sure whether I am a child of a narcissist but only because i have that nagging feeling that Im seeing parents in a bad way .

    I am an extreme introvert, and despite having 3 other siblings am felt extremely alone. I am too scared to speak what I feel whenever i have problems because then my parents will get mad at me because im no good and blame me or blame themselves with the purpose of making me feel extremely guilty. They always tell me that I dont love them when i fail to meet all their expectations. I only have a few friends and they blame me because i was the one who was unapproachable and that they didnt have a daughter who was crazy,useless and ugly. My other siblings have different ways on coping. I was the silent one.

    Maybe it was actually my fault. I have been experiencing symptoms of depression but i never got help because one time i told them that i might be depressed they got angry because they thought that I was faking it and that i wasnt being thankful for their love and care.

    They keep telling me that I was slowly killing them and I was the reason they got sick or aching. They threaten to hurt me and disown me and my siblings. This is the first time I have ever spoken out and i feel like i may missed something out that would throw this whole thing away.

    People say im a good person. But i rarely believed them. All i did was do what i always with my parents. Dont talk, look down and never answer back. a lot of people open up their problems to me but i could never do the same. Im afraid of rejection from everyone and yet i still know they will reject me from something no matter what. Im the person that is easy to forget about.

    My parents never approved of me taking an arts course in college. They were glad i took an IT course. They never said but i knew. One time my dad told me and my siblings that he was dissappointed in us because his co workers had beautiful, sexy daughters and we were ugly and fat and had no future. He didnt care if those girls were illiterate or were bad people. He just wanted a trophy to show off.

    Im too scared to do anything or choose anything on my own. I felt trapped.I love my parents and i believed everything they say and I think its poisoning me.
    I wish someone would help me despite my conflicting thoughts that im just overreacting and that it really was my fault my parents doesnt have a happy life.

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      It can be difficult to assess our parents in any way because there is so much involved in doing so, so many variables and ramifications. It’s hard to shake off the child/parent dynamic, especially the whole ‘respect your parents’ thing, even when we’ve been an adult for a long while. Sometimes what we know is something that can be hard to define and harder to accept, particularly if the truth is not the ‘family truth’. Family truths are strange, often twisted, stories that everyone in the family unit is expected to maintain even when they’re a lie or harm us individually.

      Our parents tend to tell us how we should see them, and if we stray from that view they may have trained us to feel guilty and ashamed of seeing anything other than what they want us to see. We may find ourselves trapped in an either/or, black or white, good or bad scenario – real life has many shades in between.

      So, your parents can be good and bad at the same time, and seeing the bad side of them does not mean you’re not aware of the positives, it simply means your perspective is including the whole picture – this can be unsettling for you and for them.

      Frankly, parents who have a meltdown every time you question them or don’t stick to the role they’ve decided you must play… there is something amiss there. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re narcissists, but it could mean that.

      To determine if they’re narcissists you need to also look at how they behave overall (including with people outside of the family). Narcissists are consistently narcissistic and never vary from that. This can be difficult to do, more so because narcissistic abuse can be very subtle, and children of narcissists develop a certain immunity to noticing it (it seems normal for parents to behave that way and we blame ourselves for anything negative).

      You can explore more about narcissist parents through forums like this one which may help clarify matters for you – https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/

      This is an excellent article on being the child of narcissists – https://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/surviving-the-narcissistic-parent-acons-adult-children-of-narcissists/

      Going by how you’ve described yourself and the way your relationship with your parents has and is affecting you, I would say that even if your parents are not narcissists, the relationship you have with them does have a strong narcissistic element (from them).

      Their happiness or unhappiness is not your responsibility or your fault. If they’ve made you responsible for this – that is very narcissistic and a possible sign that they’re narcissists. Narcissists always make everyone else responsible for their problems, and narcissist parents expect their children to take on their wounds and fix their problems for them, but you can never do enough to fix anything, it’s an endless quest to please people who prefer being displeased, all you end up doing is killing yourself trying to please them and failing.

      This book helped me a lot in understanding my own family dynamic and my own issues caused by my family dynamic – http://andywhiteblog.com/2015/06/23/going-mad-to-stay-sane/

      If you’ve found symptoms of depression in yourself, please see a therapist, get treatment, take it seriously. It is a sign that you need to look after yourself. You’re not over-reacting, if anything, you’re under-reacting – this is common amongst children of narcissists as we tend to put the needs of our parents and everyone else before our own. Seeing a therapist may also be able to answer any questions which you have about your parents being narcissists (as long as the therapist has experience with NPD, and with NPD parents).

      If you can, focus on caring for yourself and seeking the nourishment and nurturing which you need to help you. The most important thing we can do for ourselves in life is to do what is right for us, even when we’re not sure what that is and others don’t support us.

      Please take good care of yourself!

      Like

  16. At age 40 I finally figured out my father was a narcissist. Alice Miller’s book and my therapist helped me discover this. My wife and I got married when I was 37 and we had our son when I was 38. After our son was born I began reflecting on my own childhood. I also noticed my father’s” peculiar” behavior which to me at the time seemed as something new, but was in fact the way he always was. Our marriage and family became very threatening to my father. While we were very happy, he looked for faults in me, my wife our marriage how we were raising our son. While growing up I was often put in the position of choosing my father over other people. Often my father would try to ruin my relationships with others. When confronted with this again I chose my family with the understanding that there there was the possibility that I would loose my parents. My father and mother reacted by not speaking to us, ruining our character and reputation with other family members and friends. In person he called me an unappreciative pice of shit, a f*&%$# looser, worthless, my wife a whore, and that he would destroy us. I am a professor at a liberal arts college in the midwest with students that have gone on to do great things and where my professional life has prospered. I have a wonderful, caring spouse and beautiful child. Even after all this I still question if I did anything wrong or if there is something wrong with me. This is what we deal with as children of narcissists. We seek approval from out narcissist parents, we seek love and recognition, work hard to succeed, and often reflect and question our abilities. In the end we find we get stronger, we find happiness, enjoy life and appreciate what we have.

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I also found Alice Miller’s work to be very insightful, as well as R. D. Laing and A. Esterson’s Sanity Madness and the Family (which is about Schizophrenia but I found it explained family dynamics and what is passed along really well), and Andy White’s Going Mad to Stay Sane. They helped to redress the balance of years of being made to feel that I was the ‘problem’ and my parents were perfect.

      It does take us a long time to figure things out, especially as we have to get over that obstacle of being disloyal to our programming of always protecting the narcissist, but once we open ourselves up to the real situation, and who our parents really are, what they’re truly like, then we get a wonderful release. Yes, there’s pain and difficulty in seeing them as they are, but in the long run it is healthy for us and we finally get to be happy – which tends to bring out the worst in them as they lose their hold on us and they hate to see anyone happy.

      As one article put it:

      “What’s interesting to note is the narcissistic parent’s reaction to witnessing healthy psychological change in their child. Once the child or adult child of the narcissist starts to get psychologically healthier and begins to distance himself a bit from the parent, the narcissistic parent experiences a sort of existential panic.”

      – via https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201405/narcissistic-parents-psychological-effect-their-children

      They offer us this quest for a great love which we are supposed to sacrifice ourselves to achieve but we’re never going to get it or win – we always fall short, fail, are a loser, worthless, let them down, disappoint their expectations, are never good enough, etc, and their approval and love is always beyond our reach located in Never Never Land.

      Once we figure that out, usually through experiencing a healthy loving relationship, then we’re free from the Gordian knot… of course old habits die hard and it takes awhile to stop reacting, stop trying to maybe perhaps if only win their love. We get there eventually and are indeed stronger, wiser and happier for it.

      Best wishes on your journey, and congratulations on your happiness, well deserved and so wonderful!

      Like

  17. I truly can’t tell if my parents are narcissists or not…
    First of all I feel like a truly bad daughter for even posting this seeing that they truly are good people.
    But the thing is…I think they’ve damaged me.
    My mom and dad do everything for me. My mom cares for me and makes me meals and does everything a caring mom should, but she also makes me feel guilty about everything. For example:
    She’ll offer to do something for me, heck actually begs to do something for me, I’ll finally agree. She does it and then calls me lazy, or lords it over my head like I now owe her all day.
    My dad cares way to much. I’m 26, and I’m not “allowed” to go anywhere on my own. I can physically try to leave the house and he’ll actually run me down, begging me not to leave. He says that our neighborhood is not good (it’s the suburbs) and that I could get attacked. (He was attacked once 10 years ago and now doesn’t let me ever go out.) BUT My mom and dad can walk on their own. I just can’t, or they’ll freak out, pretend to get sick or practically lose it. They even do that if they can’t find me around our house and we live in a very small house!
    I am isolated from all of my extended family, on both sides. The sad thing is I really can’t tell if we cut them off, or were they really treating us badly. My mind says that they weren’t perfect, but my mom sees them as down right dangerous.
    I also can’t make or keep friends easily and only seem to get narcissistic one’s too that cut me off abruptly and without warning.
    My mom loves to cook, and cooks me anything I want, but now I am fat. I try to lose weight but she discourages it so that I will keep eating her meals.
    I also had to keep secrets as a child and have been going through suicidal depression since I was 7 years old (the suicidal part came at 12 and never left).
    My mom also seems very manipulative and critical. The only emotional feelings that matter is hers, if she’s the one who hurts your feelings. If someone else does she comes to my rescue, but never sees that she’s the main one hurting me.
    I always struggled in school with my peers. They treated me very bad and I don’t know why. So I can’t tell if my folks were normal and I’m just damaged from school, or what…
    Today was the final straw for the mental manipulation with my mom. (She’s also been sick my entire life. I mean very sick, and for a while it was always my fault. So I have to never ever hurt her feelings or she could get sick)
    But anyway, today she told me that my relationship with my father was all her doing and that me and him would never have gotten along if it wasn’t for her. This upset me very much and to me was said to put a wedge between us, because from my memory my dad would only ever get mad with me because she would tell him that I did something bad (which I usually never did) and he would go into a blinding rage trying to defend her!
    I’m so confused…
    Everything and everyone I like is wrong in her eyes. I wanted to study Japanese and she hammered me into studying Spanish because she said it was more useful (which it is) but I wanted to go to Japan so…
    Then I wanted to go to art school, but they made me go get a different degree because they said it would be more useful (It hasn’t been, still can’t find a job).
    Then I wanted to go to a concert on my own (I have no friends). My mom asks if I wanted her to go, I say no and guess who can’t go to the concert at age 26. ME!
    The reason, I can’t go, I can’t drive. I have very bad social anxiety and get tunnel vision so I can’t drive, at least not yet…
    My family is now isolated and feels like we’re in danger all the time. (Or at least I’m in danger all the time.)
    Help, I have no motivation and I’m very suicidal. Right now I’m not talking to my mom and it’s very awkward, but I don’t want to break the silence this time.
    It feels bad because she literally does everything for me (rides, food, hair, ect.) So much so that all the kids in my family hated me and thought me spoiled, though they didn’t see the multiple welts on my hands or bottom from not doing everything I was told or from not getting a question right.
    So tell me…is it me (which I would prefer) or them?

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Sorry for the delay in replying.

      It can be difficult to tell if someone is a narcissist, especially when it comes to a parent. The criteria used to determine whether someone has NPD or not is generalised, NPD varies from person to person, there are different types of narcissism and a spectrum to the disorder. There is more information these days online, and more being written about parents with NPD and how they affect their children. The best thing to do is research the matter until you find the right information for you which helps to clarify the matter.

      From the way that you’ve described your relationship with your parents there are certain factors which do sound as though they may be narcissists, particularly your mother. It could be that your mother is a narcissist and that your father is an enabler rather than that both of them being narcissists – enablers of narcissists end up being just as bad as narcissists because they support the narcissist out of fear.

      They are very controlling. They won’t let you do anything on your own or become independent in any way (healthy parents encourage their children to become independent). Your mother’s need to do everything for you is a method of controlling you (her ‘good mothering’ is smothering you. Narcissist mothers often play the role of the greatest mother in the world who sacrifices everything for the welfare of her child). They’ve isolated themselves and you, and use the excuse that everything and everyone outside of the house is dangerous (narcissists tend to feel threatened by everything and everyone they can’t control). They blame you for everything. They expect you to be grateful, obedient, and be who they need you to be for them, play the part they have assigned to you. They have no idea who you are and don’t support your interests. They use guilt, shame and other emotional blackmail to manipulate you.

      The most telling aspect is how they affect you. Your depression, your difficulty in making friends (narcissists don’t want their children to have a social life, and it is hard to learn healthy ways of relating to others from narcissists), your suicidal thoughts (a regular feature of growing up with narcissist parents as they instill a self-destruct mechanism in you), your feeling that you are a bad daughter (a healthy parent does not make their child feel this way). It is often easier to spot a narcissist by the way they affect us rather than using NPD criteria concerning them.

      This is an article worth reading, it’s not about narcissist parents but it is about the way parents affect their children negatively – http://www.psychedinsanfrancisco.com/energy-theft/

      This is a forum for children of narcissists, you may find the threads helpful to understanding your situation – https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists

      This is about recovering from having narcissists as parents – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201205/it-s-all-about-me-recovery-adult-children-narcissist – and it touches upon the issue of whether it is them or you.

      This is an excellent post all about how a narcissist parent affects their child – https://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/surviving-the-narcissistic-parent-acons-adult-children-of-narcissists/

      This is also about being a child of narcissists – http://hubpages.com/health/The-Child-Victim-of-a-Narcissistic-Personality-Disordered-Parent

      This is a very good site, it is designed for children but it works for adults too – http://www.angriesout.com/grown17.htm – also from the same site – http://www.angriesout.com/grown20.htm

      It is them, they have done this to you. However you have the ability to change how you are affected by what they have done. Please do not kill yourself. I’ve been there and almost done that, I felt that there was no other way out of the hell I was trapped in – that’s what narcissist parents do to your thinking. But there is a way out, and you have the ability to release yourself. You’re stronger than you know and you have your whole life ahead of you. You deserve to have a life of your own, to discover who you are, get to know yourself and what you want to do. You won’t always feel this bad about yourself, that is their influence, they’ve made you feel that way because that’s how they feel about themselves, they’ve passed their wound onto you, but it’s not your wound to carry.

      You’re a beautiful, talented and amazing human being, give yourself the chance to discover that!

      Like

      1. Thank you very much for your reply and your kind words.
        I will try to get to know myself and read the helpful resources that you’ve given me.
        Right now I’m feeling more healthy mentally, but that’s only because we’ve been getting along at the moment.
        The main thing I will try to work on is the “self-destruct mechanism” that I have. I’ve never head of that term before, but it describes it so accurately.
        The second I have upset her in anyway, the suicide comes back so strongly…it’s weird.
        But anyway, thank you again so much. Your words have really helped 🙂

        Like

  18. I sobbed through your blog. I am a writer and could never begin to articulate what you expressed so beautifully and perfectly. I wish I had read this 40 years ago. Would it have resonated as deeply then? I feel so grateful and privileged to have read this. Truly.

    Like

    1. This article made me tear up as well.

      I think you can read about the disorder, but hearing someone who has been through the experience, offers something I don’t think you can get anywhere else. I find myself saying “yep, yep that’s exactly how it went in my family.” I feel like my mom should be put in jail for the crimes she committed against children, all while saying she was doing everything for us, we are ungrateful spoiled brats, she is a saint, she is the victim, who no one could really understand her, poor her.

      What do you do if you are the son of an npd mother, and you were her golden son your whole life, you spent your life being the perfect successful son she wanted, living in the rich snobbish towns we would move to, she isolated us(my sisters and I) physically from any family, and psychologically from friends, saying they were bad, then when you were seventeen years old, she divorced your dad, and randomly moved three thousand miles away into the woods, leaving you behind in the rich town, she then preceded to tell your sisters she had to move because you were unstable, and ungrateful? Now you’re left with no family, difficulty keeping friends, and completely confused about where you came from, and where to go, if you try to bring up that there may have been problems in the family, the npd mother laughs at you and says it’s all in your head. This is my story, I feel like no one can understand, what do I do?

      Like

      1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

        It can be hard to figure out what to do, and it always feels like no one else can understand. One thing which is important to do is to understand your own story and to get to know yourself. That takes time, but it is worth it.

        There are many people sharing their personal stories and experiences online, reading their words is helpful as it’s a way of finding the pieces of your own story which can aid in clarifying the confusion.

        There is one blog which I think is very good – https://thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com/ – it’s by the son of a narcissist mother who also thinks she’s a saint.

        You might also find exploring the threads on this forum helpful – https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists – it’s for children of narcissists.

        I found reading the work of Andy White – http://andywhiteblog.com/ – deeply insightful for my own story.

        Start where you are and gradually work from there finding your own path. It will be painful, lonely, confusing, but you will find your way, and you will find support and friends along your way. There is a lot more information these days about narcissist parents and many more resources for children of narcissists. Researching the matter is important because the information you gather will help to dissipate the confusion and give you grounding which is something our narcissist parents don’t give us, they always leave their children rootless and lost, but we can give ourselves roots and stability.

        Take good care of yourself, as a child of a narcissist it’s up to you to parent yourself, that can seem harsh but in the long run it is a powerful experience.

        Like

    2. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      That’s a question I sometimes ask myself too when I read something which resonates deeply. I think we move gradually through a process of understanding, like trees slowly growing, getting taller, able to see further, our roots delving deeper, spreading and accessing new nutrients, and we can’t rush our growth. The wish to have known before what we now know is part of the growth, it spurs us to know more as it reminds us that there is more to learn. Or something like that.

      I definitely could not have written this before I did as it was a culmination of many separate notions, impressions and experiences coming together. It was the end of one phase which heralded the start of another. I guess everything happens when it is meant to, when we’re ready. Being older seems to bring a certain detachment, I think that helps a lot.

      Sharing has made a big difference. 🙂

      Like

  19. I think you are getting a number of things wrong. For instance, children of narcissists do tend to become narcissists more often than not. Can’t see how having two narcissistic parents could possibly decrease the odds of that. It runs in families as the narcissistic parent causes a narcissistic break in their own children.

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      This post is a subjective view, and an exploration of personal experience. This is a personal blog. If what you’re looking for is a professional and objective view then you will find that on psychology sites and in articles written by those who are studying NPD from a clinical perspective.

      This is an interesting article on Narcissism, which explains the different types of narcissist, and also looks into how a child develops NPD (the formatting makes it a bit difficult to read) – http://energeticsinstitute.com.au/narcissism/

      This is also very insightful, it’s on a website designed for children dealing with the effects of growing up with difficult parents – http://www.angriesout.com/grown20.htm

      Question – Does every child of a narcissist parent develop NPD?

      I don’t think it’s a black and white matter as it concerns individuals, the psyche, and there are many variables to consider.

      For instance if there is a nurturing influence in the child’s life which is not narcissistic, this could change how they are impacted by the narcissistic parent. If there are siblings then the narcissist parent may focus their attention on one child and be less interested in the others, or have diverse roles for each child which changes how each child is affected and develops.

      The type of NPD which the parent has, where they are on the narcissistic spectrum, also needs to be factored in.

      Since each narcissist is different, each child will have a different experience, be affected differently, even though there are similarities between narcissists and children of narcissists.

      Yes, children of narcissists can also become narcissists. To say that they tend to become narcissists more often than not, and that if both their parents are narcissists their chances of becoming a narcissist increase is a rather bleak view which is not particularly helpful to an adult child of a narcissist who has already been battered by narcissistic abuse on a constant basis day in and day out over the course of many years.

      This article looks into how a child is affected by a narcissist parent – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201405/narcissistic-parents-psychological-effect-their-children

      They may have taken years to realise that they had been subjected to parental narcissism, they may be wrestling with internal conflict over identifying their parent as a narcissist, and they may already think the worst of themselves thanks to their narcissist parent, who may have even gone as far as to label their child a narcissist.

      It still surprises me when a parent accuses their child of being a narcissist, and seems to consider themselves to have had no influence in the matter, they often blame the other parent or decide that their child is a bad seed, nothing to do with them.

      Perhaps if being a narcissist was not considered to be such a terrible status, then going with the ‘you’re a narcissist because your parent is’ approach might be helpful. However, it could also cause even more merging between the child and the parent, and part of the recovery process for a child of narcissists is to separate themselves from their narcissist parent.

      This is a view of the recovery process – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201205/it-s-all-about-me-recovery-adult-children-narcissist

      It’s interesting to note that your comment begins with a negative, and continues that way with no positive to balance it. You focused on what was wrong with this post and with children of narcissists. In writing your comment did you consider how it might be received, and in phrasing it that way di it answer your concerns for you.

      I’d be intrigued to know the personal angle from which you’re approaching the subject of children of narcissists becoming narcissists themselves. Why are you reading a post like this one? What’s your story?

      Are you an ACoN who thinks that you may be a narcissist. It’s common for ACoNs to think they’re a narcissist, especially if they have experienced the ‘scapegoat’ role where their narcissist parent continuously tells them that everything is wrong with them. Narcissists love to point out what’s wrong with everyone else, as this makes them feel right, black and white thinking is a default mode for their mind. Because most narcissists see themselves as wearing a white hat, they give the villain hat to others, and when they give it to their children, their children have to accept to wear it and be the villain or suffer the consequences of saying ‘no’ to a narcissist parent.

      This is worth reading, it’s from a forum for children of narcissists – https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/comments/1p1uag/help_i_think_i_am_a_narcissist/

      If you are an ACoN, do you have siblings and do you think your siblings are narcissists. Were you treated differently or the same as your siblings. A narcissist parent tends to give each child a different role.

      Or are you not an ACoN, but you had a relationship with a narcissist, and in trying to understand them (or how they affected you) you began to suspect that their parents were also narcissists.

      Do you have a child with a narcissist and you’re worried that they might develop NPD.

      The subject of NPD can be confusing to research, especially online as it is a trending hot topic and everyone is writing about it. A few years ago there wasn’t as much and most of what was written was mainly by professionals, and focused more on those with NPD rather than those affected by narcissists. Reading personal experience stories can be insightful, but it will not be as clear cut as a clinical view, personal relationships are always complicated, particularly when a narcissist is involved in the equation. Narcissists tend to make everyone they touch either confused or angry, usually both.

      Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves is to focus our attention on our own well-being, on being more mindful of ourselves, and not worry to much about having all the answers.

      And yes, I am often wrong, I could be wrong about my parents being narcissists. My goal isn’t to be right, it’s to see things from other angles to get a more rounded view. I’m not trying to find a one-size-fits-all, I’m just seeking what fits me and what doesn’t, just as you are.

      Take good care of yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. There is no relief even in knowing, nothing that can soothe the loss unless one was fortunate to have found real love & family along the way. You dream of a world where only love exists for all living things, no pain inflicted by humans on nature or each other.

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  21. So so grateful. I cried reading your words. I feel like I’m finally not alone. You understand. No one else believed me. I was accused of being an abusive child since I was 5. I emptied myself to survive and now I’m hollow and lost. Who am I?

    I have a long way to go. But I’m happy I’m not alone.

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      You’re not alone, there are many adult children of narcissists (ACoNs) in the world (fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) who understand what you have been through and are going through, and more and more are speaking out about their experiences.

      This is an interesting forum to visit – https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists

      It is normal and natural to feel alone, that no one understands, it’s part of our wound, it’s part of growing up and being stuck in a narcissist family, as narcissist parents isolate you both physically, emotionally and psychologically. It’s also part of the human experience to feel alone as it comes with being an individual. However we can be alone and yet not alone – there’s a lot of support in many forms nowadays to help us help ourselves – more people who understand, who share their stories, we’re just all a bit wary of sharing our stories with others because we’ve learned from painful experience how sharing with the wrong people only makes things worse, and it’s hard to know who the right people to share with are. If you share with someone who understands it can open up a new way of perceiving, however if you open up with someone who doesn’t understand it can compound the silence, especially as it can sometimes be an enormous effort to speak about yourself, what you’ve experienced. Reaching out to others and connecting can feel like an impossible challenge.

      Being hollow and lost, wondering who you are… that comes with the territory of growing up and living with narcissists. I’ve been there and it is what spurred me to dig deeper, explore myself to find myself, delve into my experience, learn about NPD, and many others things… and along the way I found myself bit by bit, like finding all the pieces of the puzzle scattered here and there. I still have moments of not knowing who I am and feeling lost, but the emptiness is gradually being filled by me because I finally convinced myself that it was okay to do that, it was okay to just be, to live, to fill my own space.

      We empty ourselves to survive the invasion of the narcissist. But we haven’t actually become empty, we’ve just vacated the places where narcissists invade, taken shelter in a bunker deep inside to protect our core self. Getting access to that can take time, and requires patience, in some ways it is like trying to coax a very frightened child out of their hiding place. That hiding child has been coaxed out before and been hurt by coming out, it is determined not to get hurt again, it can’t trust anyone, not even the adult version of itself. So it needs a lot of gentle care. Your adult self needs to show your hiding child that is it not an abusive child, that it was told that repeatedly by those who were the real abusers. What narcissists tell us about ourselves when we’re very young gets stuck inside our heads, even if we know it is not true, a part of us believes it, worries that it may be true. Healing often requires going over the painful past to see all of it, all those parts you couldn’t see at the time.

      A child stuck with parents who are narcissists can’t see their own situation because that is too frightening, they can’t allow themselves to see that they are surrounded by the enemy, that those on whom they rely for care are anything but caring. So the child takes on the onus for everything bad which happens to them, it must be their fault, they’re bad and their parents are good – and narcissist parents encourage this view. To heal we need to see what our child self could not see, as that sets our child self free from an agonising perception.

      Once the part of you which is hiding within you emerges, then the emptiness slowly ebbs away, and you get to meet a part of who you are, the self which hid to survive. That is not all of who you are, as who you are is made of many things, such as the strength to survive such a hostile environment as a narcissist family, that strength is part of who you are, as is the ability to survive.

      You’re very strong, and that strength will help you to gradually discover who you are, fill the emptiness and find yourself. It can feel like a daunting task, and sometimes it is, but it is also one of the most rewarding experiences you will have, getting to know yourself is very healing.

      Take care of yourself!

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  22. Hello Upturned Soul. I’ve read lots of your articles. Sounds like the voice I lost long time ago. My life is filled with secrets, the adoption one, the perfect recreated family one, the founded bio family but being the family’s friend to save my natural dad, mother and natural sister her husband family and their children’s reputation. Yes, after I born, they give me up, then got married and had another child. Then the dead child of my adoptive’s parents. We were match to fill the gap, their dead daughter, my runaway parents. But it didn’t work if you look beyond the superficial image of the “happy family” I had to contribute and promote. Rage was that volatile gas in the house. Rage started to manifest seriously from them when I turned 7. Won’t go into the details. It was an ambiance. The invisible pressure felt upon your heart. That voice that I controlled all my life, it’s intonations, it’s debit, I have been so afraid that one day it might speak up, still am. But I must say that your words and the way you explain is enabling. I write because I want to share a thought that is been haunting me for a long time. When I went to the psychoanalyst I would get so tired and so empty of energy when I had to talk about the relationship with my mother. I felt I was dying, then felt the urgent need to lie down, and opening my mouth no voice would come out I was too tired to breathe. Then during the sessions the psycho analyst said I had a narcissist problem, my personality. Then I had just read Sam Vadkin’s writings. And giving his description I felt doomed. I was 36 or something cannot remember well. Then later I became accidentally pregnant and chose in a tortured process to abort. Then she said I could not bare the presence of someone else, in my selfishness I saw that child as an invader, a disturbance, a nuisance, and that she was trying to save me from making that mistake but I had not listened to her. If I was unable to talk about my mother I cannot even tell how It turned out to be impossible to share my voice, any of it. I felt broken, she was raging because I decided to quit for the second time, then I did not go back to her anymore, BUT I felt that her prediction was right. Then I have not being able to detangle me from the thought that If narcissists are the worst human kinds why should I live ? I feel I don’t have the right to live. I am 46. What should I do. I already live isolated, with no child, no lover. I am afraid of myself all the time. What if I let myself live I do harm, more that I can imagine. This thought is torturing me and it is unbearable because I live. Does it sound familiar ? This is why my heart stops when I read narcissist’s characteristics, I feel tortured. I might be too far from reality but this is what is going on inside. Thank you for reading me.

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      When you’ve been through a lot of suffering and pain at the hands of others, especially as a child, when you grow up in an unsafe environment, when there is a lot of confusion, secrets and lies, volatile emotions, and complicated relations going on in your family, you end up absorbing wounds, psychological issues and complexities which are not your own. Children tend to think that all the craziness in their family is somehow their fault, and adults sometimes confirm that through blaming their children sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly.

      For instance my mother was always telling me how great her life was until I was born, that if it wasn’t for me existing she’d be happy, she did that in many different ways until I began to see myself as the reason for the suffering of my family, and I began to think that if I killed myself everyone else would live happily ever after. This thought grew and grew as things got worse and worse.

      I eventually developed what is sometimes termed – Inverted Narcissism – where you think that you’re the worst person ever, that you’re a monster, defective, don’t deserve to live, that your existence is somehow the cause of everything bad in the world, that you’re stealing oxygen which belongs to others, that you’re dangerous and need to protect everyone else from yourself, that the world would be a better place without you, and so on. You can be so completely caught up in this that it is all you think and feel, it hurts like hell and you can’t see a way out of it. Every time you try to get help, reach out, speak up… something happens which makes things worse, confirms your worst fears about yourself.

      I found this book – http://andywhiteblog.com/2015/06/23/going-mad-to-stay-sane/ – to be immensely helpful in helping me to unravel and untangle myself from the mess inside.

      My inverted narcissism was not NPD, although I was very narcissistic I wasn’t a narcissist, children of narcissists absorb the behaviour of their narcissist parents, as all children do with their parents. My inverted narcissism was the result of growing up with narcissists and being a scapegoat for them. Narcissists tend to blame everyone else for what is wrong with them, they hand their wound over to others, they tell you what is wrong with you and that you have to fix it, but what they tell you is wrong with you is actually what is wrong with them. One of the hardest things to do is to realise that many of the things which you think are wrong with you, aren’t even a part of you – you’re trying to heal someone else’s wound which you think is yours, which is why it is impossible to heal.

      Was it your psychoanalyst who made those remarks to you about your pregnancy and abortion? Because if it was, I’m not at all surprised that you quit. Sounds to me as though the real narcissist is your psychoanalyst.

      A therapist should be helping you to help yourself, not making things worse for you. It sounds very much as though your therapist was not particularly good at their job. Quite a few commenters have shared their stories of being in therapy with a bad therapist who made things worse rather than better for them. You might find joining a support group for children who grew up in an abusive environment to be a gentler option as those in the group will have personal experience of the trauma it causes, will be more understanding.

      As to whether you’re a narcissist, if you are it is not the end of the world, you are not the worst human being in the world.

      Be careful about what you read online about narcissists. That includes on my blog as I often have rants about narcissists, and let my frustration do the writing for me. I don’t actually think that narcissists are the worst people, I just sometimes feel like they are, especially the ones I know personally who have driven me nuts, it’s different.

      I would suggest that you’re not a narcissist as the way you behaved when you were given the diagnosis is not typical of those with NPD, and your attitude towards it now is not typical of a narcissist either. I would hazard a guess that you grew up with narcissists and are still taking responsibility for things which are not yours but belong to them. You may have narcissistic traits and behaviours, but everyone has those as narcissism is a phase of human development and is healthy, sometimes it tips into unhealthy – in NPD things tip very far into unhealthy.

      I would also suggest, if you haven’t already, exploring C-PTSD – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_post-traumatic_stress_disorder – as that is far more likely to be what you have, it’s only just gaining understanding and your psychoanalyst may not have known about it and may have mistaken its symptoms for being those of NPD.

      If a therapist diagnoses you as a narcissist, they really shouldn’t leave you feeling hopeless about it. It is treatable as long as the person who is a narcissist is willing to work towards healing themselves, which it sounds very much to be something you want to do. So, if you are a narcissist, and I doubt it, I’d go with C-PTSD, then you are not in a hopeless situation. You just need a better therapist, one who helps you rather than makes things worse.

      You might find this article interesting – http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2012/03/25/empathy-can-be-learned-overcoming-narcissism-one-day-at-a-time/ – it’s a personal story about being diagnosed, and misdiagnosed.

      This is also worth reading as it gives an in depth look at all facets of narcissism – http://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/narcissism.html

      Make sure you get a second opinion about any diagnosis you get from a therapist, and make sure your therapist doesn’t have issues of their own which they then take out on you.

      You deserve to live – you just need to give yourself time to figure that out. It can take ages to do that, but it’s worth it. Be gentle with yourself!

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      1. Thank you so much. I did not know any of the links you suggest and it’s mind opening !

        “One of the hardest things to do is to realize that many of the things which you think are wrong with you, aren’t even a part of you – you’re trying to heal someone else’s wound which you think is yours, which is why it is impossible to heal.” That thought, these words together, light me up. Healing someone else’s wound makes me understand I have to disown lots of things but I hope to take that work with a therapist after 10 years of fearing them. Because I do become confused sometimes with this game of fusion-confusion.

        Yes the psychoanalyst’s comments. I felt she was trying to make me say the truth she had figured out about me. She was the head of the psychoanalysts’ board of the province, a university psychoanalyst PHD teacher, etc. She had power hence knowledge… I cannot tell till today if she was right or wrong but I know I was scared by her. And I suppose I went and returned to her precisely because the “ambiance” was so familiar : the ungrateful capricious child.

        They say that narcissists don’t like to go in therapy. But when I think of it now and read your answer, I want to say that sometimes you want to heal but you cannot trust your sense of judgment in choosing an caring intimate partner-which is what a therapist is in my views. First because the sense of caring is very twisted now I understand. But even if I kept away in fear all these years at the same time I was yearning to figured out what was going on and heal. Feels like I am going from being a tomb to being the person in the tomb than a resurrected from the deads. My real desire is to be alive and kickin’.

        Thank you again for answering me and giving me new perspectives. I would not have imagine years ago, that there would be words to talk about this silencing. Bless your blog !

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        1. Thank you 🙂

          What you’ve shared of your personal story, your childhood and life, speaks of a very difficult path and personal journey. Considering your experience with your psychoanalyst (who frankly sounds like they had a major case of ego issues going on)… The fact that you’re still determined to get into therapy says a lot about you in a very good way. Give yourself credit.

          There’s more awareness these days, but we’re all still learning about the mind, the emotions, and how we are affected by our experiences. All humans struggle with being human and with this crazy thing called life. If others seem to be okay… they may just be pretending. It’s hard to tell sometimes. We all have different coping mechanisms for the mess life offers us. Many people hide behind a facade of ‘normal’.

          Just read the news and ‘normal’ flies out the window.

          Focus on taking care of yourself, don’t worry if you make mistakes, we all do that and it’s part of our learning curve and experience. We’re all afraid, our fear, our pain is universal and connects us all more than anything else.

          You’re more okay than you know, than you feel… give yourself the time and care you need to figure things out and find those who can help you help yourself. You’re absolutely right about finding a caring partner, especially in therapy. Sometimes that takes a long time and a few really bad experiences. Sometimes the only way we find out who someone else is, if they care for us, is by taking a risk on them. It may work out or not. When it does, it is very healing.

          I read an article recently about the tendency these days that people have of telling us that they’re who we want them to be for us because they want us to like them, but are they really who they’re telling us they are? This is a real conundrum for all of us.

          We’re all in this together, all trying to figure it out. We’re all a mess. So be gentle with yourself and let yourself find your own way in your own time. 🙂

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          1. Thank you ! I have been thinking a lot since I wrote and read your answers. It is so true, sharing out loud makes a difference. Since then, things are shifting softly but surely for me. I can accept the reality of my situation. It doesn’t feel anymore like a mythomania. If we are so many with that puzzle, there must be a solution. And true, worst is behind me. Now that the glass is clearer I feel vertigo sometimes. The bomb in my love life is called mom. I am not really sure I will ever feel capable of a love life. But at least a peaceful mind yes. Once I heard a 14 years old explaining how she handled herself to the social workers office and ask them to be removed from her family because she knew she would not be able to grow sane. I couldn’t believe how awaken she was so young. Why do we children of narcissists feel the compulsion to stay when really everything say go ?

            I wanna share a book I found, now that I am looking at this reality, maybe you know it : I Killed Mom . . . Again! : A True Story by Naomi Clay Horse.

            Bless your blog.

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            1. Thank you 🙂

              I haven’t come across that book before, sounds very interesting, thank you for the share!

              I did see a film the other night – La Spagnola (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0290867/) – which in my view perfectly captured the narcissist mother and her relationship with her daughter, it was actually a bit harrowing to watch as it showed the day to day erosion which occurs, how ordinary it can seem, how subtle it can be even when it is not subtle at all, how the child can see it but doesn’t always know what to do with what they see, and how others don’t see it mostly because they’re wrapped up in their own lives and everyone has their own problems.

              In the film the daughter eventually makes her escape, she’s had enough, but then she returns to once again ‘win’ her mother’s love.

              The desire to get mother to love you can be a compulsion which is very hard to break even if you’re aware of it, of the self-destructive aspect of the relationship, of the negative impact it has upon you and your experience of love. Narcissistic parents start destroying their child’s independence from the very beginning because they need their child to depend upon them, they need to be your everything, they need you therefore you can never leave them – they are terrified of being abandoned. They instinctively handicap you, stunt your growth… in the same way sometimes that their growth was stunted. They repeat their wounding with you, adding extra bits and pieces.

              Narcissists crave love but their version of love is very twisted with other concepts, such as power and powerlessness.

              There’s another film I saw many years ago which for me captured the essence of why a daughter finds it so hard to break free from a narcissistic mother – Now, Voyager (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035140/) – and how that can impact her ability to love and be loved.

              The cure for the ailment requires for us to learn to love ourselves – which is quite a challenge when you’ve been taught that self love is a crime, the sin of all sins, by the narcissist parent. Narcissists don’t know how to love, so they can’t teach us how to love, but they do teach us how not to love, especially ourselves. So in some ways we need to figure out what love truly is for us and then figure out how to give that to ourselves – not try to get it from others as narcissists do. It’s actually a very interesting puzzle to explore and experiment with.

              One of my fav books on love is by Thomas Moore – Soul Mates. This is an article he wrote about his view – https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199403/soul-mates

              The story of the 14 yr old is intriguing. Did she get what she asked for? Was she removed from her family? And if she was given a new family, how did it work out for her? The whole story is necessary, because being aware is only part of things.

              I was fairly aware from quite a young age about my situation, but that was in some ways more of a burden than a blessing. I tried to tell people about my parents when I was a child, but my parents had social standing and I was a nobody. I even contemplated running away but I figured I’d just be recaptured and returned to them, and then have to put up with even more than I already had to deal with. By the time I was 14 I realised that society didn’t give a shit about my welfare (of course that’s a typical teenage view), that my parents always won when it came to image games especially with society, and that there really was no escape, because even if I left, they’d never let me go, or society would never allow me to let them go, and it was too late anyway, I was a mess and I’d take that mess with me into other relationships.

              I consciously decided to stay and try to sort myself out while inside the mess. At least at the time I thought it was a conscious decision on my part, later I debated if perhaps I was just too brainwashed to tell the difference between what I thought was my decision and what was actually just me doing what I’d been trained to do – stay with them and accept responsibility for it.

              I’m not sure if I was right or wrong about staying, depends on what mood I’m in when I look back on my young self and the decisions that version of me made. Sometimes I think I was right, sometimes I think I was a complete moron. I had a concept about it – that you have to face your own hell in the here and now rather than try to escape it as it would hunt you down anyway – this was partly based on observing others, on the stories of others who had run away from their problems only to end up finding those problems turn up in other shapes, forms and relationships, and on what my narcissist parents had done and how that ended up for them.

              I don’t think there’s a perfect formula to it, there’s just what we do and coming to terms with it. The healing is in the wound. We are all different and deal with it differently… and we’re all prone to wishing we’d done something else instead of what we did. We look at others and think they did it better than us, but did they, and do they think that or are they wishing they’d done things differently too? The surface of others isn’t as relevant as what lies beneath.

              I think in some ways, having the awareness when we’re younger is actually not as helpful as having it when we’re older. Being aware now… that’s what matters. What we do now for ourselves is where we’re living and being. And then working with it gently, at a pace which suits us, which respects our story. Let yourself unfold, enjoy discovering and uncovering, and getting to know who you are.

              Real love I think is accepting ourselves and as we do that, we feel more comfortable just being as we are, and others find that attractive, and we attract others who like and love us as we are. And if we return that, like and love them as they are, then it creates a healthy basis for a relationship.

              Learning to like myself as a mess… made a lot of difference. Strangely enough others seem to like my messy self 🙂

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              1. Oh so much to take from your answer, I want to comment better later, but just now, I am so impress with your description of what love is for a narcissistic parent, my eyes are like balls. That and the compulsion to be loved by a mother, which I think I haven’t beaten totally, if ever… You know, if I replay my childhood in that perspective, even if it is not what I convinced myself it was, it just feels better cause it’s closer to the emotions I have kept inside and need to deal with.

                At one point I suspected my mom of Munchausen syndrome, she had some pleasure to see me ill, and if I wasn’t she invented some handicap for me that was’t true but I did not know, like a heart debilities that prevented me to go on excursion or play. Instead I stayed with her… It is so symbolic, heart. Then being a heartless child, a typical complaint. I think now it meant “I don’t like you cause you don’t have heart enough for two, and people will see me through.”

                I don’t know what happened to the girl after the family change, cause she did change. It was years ago on the radio, an interview. It shock me she did legally want I was planning to do unofficially, like running away at the same age. She was telling the world through a mass media that her parents sucked, that’s what struck me. I could not even think I was thinkable. I totally relate to your situation, I also had to live in the shadow of my parents.

                I absolutely want to watch these movies. I love movies. Thank you !! Autumn Sonata and September also talks about narcissistic mothers. But these are more obvious. The gray zone…

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                1. Lol this keeps coming up in my email and I’m feeling chatty so I’m chiming in, shocking, I know. Chasing a narcisstic parent’s love is like going on a quest in search of Santa Claus, you cannot find that which does not exist. There is no point in trying bc it’s just not possible they do what they can in tier own way and the best you can do is accept that and move forward, sometimes by any means necessary (whatever that means to you). Like Ursula keeps saying, love yourself, love whoever or whatever qualities of whoever comes into your life whenever it happens, hope the ones who aren’t douchebags stick around for awhile and that’s about all you can do. And no grammar police here today, I apologize in advance for any typos there may be as I’m doing this on my phone and it’s only allowing 3 characters per line which is quite difficult to edit, so I’m just not.

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                2. Thank you 🙂

                  There are many aspects of life and living, of relationships and all the ties past and present, which are like a puzzle which we have to solve, but pieces always seem to be missing. We find them in time, sometimes it takes a long time to find them.

                  Memories are strange and each time we learn something new, get a new perspective, it changes the memory. We see new things, we discover new ways of approaching something old.

                  Most of what our parents did with us as their child is a knock on effect of what happened to them when they were a child. Many parents relive their own childhood dramas and traumas, their relationship with their parents, with their own children only this time they get to play the role of parent rather than child, and it can be very confusing because what they are doing doesn’t make any sense due to our not knowing their history and life story. But every now and then you can see what motivates them, and how it affected them and affects you.

                  Bit by bit as we explore our own experiences and story we figure things out and release ourselves from things which don’t really belong to us. We adopt many things from others, they’re like hand-me-downs… but we eventually realise that they don’t really fit us, we were just wearing them because they were given to us to wear.

                  Sometimes our desire to be loved by a parent who couldn’t love us is their own quest to be loved by a parent who couldn’t love them. Love is very elusive, it is an abstract, and the more it eludes, the more we chase it. Sometimes when we decide to stop chasing it, it finds us… in unexpected ways 🙂

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  23. Thank you for this blog. I am absorbing the stories, and being reminded that I am a survivor of an extremely narcissistic mother and a slightly narcissistic father. I took the Univ. of Georgia survey, and found one of the questions particularly surprising. I did all the laundry in my family. It is a metaphor. We, children of narcissists swim in dirty laundry as I did – the oldest and only girl in a family of five kids, really seven kids if you count my parents. I was punished if shirts were wrinkled, if the mountain of dirty athletic socks were above the washing machine height. My four athletic brothers thought I was a princess because I had princess furniture, but could not hang anything on the wall without my mother’s approval. I was a slave dressed in princess clothes – my mother’s projection on to me.

    Through reading the comments and information, I find it heartening that I can emerge out of a life time of suffering. In fact, I just packed up my mom who was living near us making me her main caregiver, and transferred her across the country to three brothers who are now responsible. My mom created so much chaos in my life now at the age of 55 that I was becoming disabled by her. I could not keep up with her constant demands. Finally in late January I said “No, enough.” My stance threw her in a tantrum that I never imagined. She landed in the hospital. Her symptoms were both real and an act. It was a nightmare. She is better now and thus better enough to travel to her sons. Now, I am in therapy and beginning to know myself without feeling responsible for her bad and destructive behavior. Given my culture, my behavior was extremely taboo – to not take care of her. It has been cataclysmic, but I look forward to being an example of someone who can learn, pioneer the rights of caregivers and still forge a wonderful life for myself – from now on with my eyes open and loving.

    I have one comment on the format of your site. Your decision to use gray-toned text makes it hard to read. The text, the lightness of it undermines the importance of being heard. Use a darker tone, a darker gray or black, and perhaps increase the size a bit. After all, we children of the gods have something to say.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      It is often in the small things, the details of daily life, where we find pieces of the puzzle of our story. The insight which you had about doing the laundry, and the connections you made with it, that’s the sort of thing which can unlock previously hidden aspects of the dynamic and release you. Narcissists rely a lot on the things which others may not notice, they may ask for a small favour here and there, and it seems like no problem, until you add it all up and realise how many strings they’re pulling, how much you’re doing for them, and how much they’re getting you to do for them. And it’s never enough, you can never do enough for them.

      Glad to hear that you’ve finally found a way out of the web. It’s a very difficult process, especially when the narcissist is a parent. It can take a long time to break free, and it can be hard to do it, even though you know it’s for the best.

      Best wishes, take good care of yourself, and trust yourself!

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  24. Iam 30 now but when i was 8 my best friend raped me (we are both girls) i told my mom she did not believe me and thought it was my dad who did it (they were devoriced) so after the cops and doctors confermd it was my friend my mom was mad at me cuz she had to.lose her best friend (the girls mom) she even asked her 8 year old kid ” are you sure it happend that way?maybe your gay she is a very pretty girl,if your gay i promise i wont be mad.” WTF?!
    Iam not gay,it was rape.
    And now iam 30 and last wednesday she was talking about that time in HER life and what a nightmare it was for HER to go thought having to wait alone at the police department for 3hours and to lose MY best friend iam still not over it,remember WE had to change churches ,I quit amway,had to find a new baby sitter that whole year what a nightmare.
    At that moment the last drop of love i had for her was gone just like that.
    I will say 1 good thing becuz of her iam a damn good at reading people.
    O and fuck oxytocin!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Not sure what the ‘fuck oxytocin’ was about, but I’m sure it’s woven into the story and may be too private to share. Never tried the stuff, sounds like it has a similar addictive quality as heroin, an escape which becomes a worse trap than that from what it was originally used to escape.

      The narcissist mother sees her children as a part of who she is, not as separate beings allowed to have an existence of their own. Her story is the only story, and it is always all about her and what she has been through, suffered, been a martyr too (especially if she is a covert narcissist). That kind of mother is always the perfect mother who strangely always seems to have the most imperfect children who ruin her wonderful life. And this kind of mother is never accountable for anything. Nothing is ever her fault, because then she’d have to face things which she can never face or the mirror will break into a million shards.

      It’s a very tough way to learn a valuable lesson in life, but it sounds like you’ve weathered the worst of the storm and come out of it strong with one hell of a rebel’s yell to go with celebrating your survival. Kudos!

      Make sure you understand the wound which was passed on from your mother to you, and from your father too – this makes all the difference with what we pass on to others as children of narcissists.

      Being good at reading people is a blessing, but it also contains a curse within it. Such an ability often attracts narcissists. Or it can make people see narcissists in ordinary humans being human. Use it with gentleness, and be gentle with yourself.

      Best wishes, take good care of yourself!

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    2. Hi Ella,
      I went through a similar ordeal, so I can totally understand where you are coming from. In my experience, the best way to truly get past everything is to know in your own head what really happened regardless of what ANYONE tries to convince you of, you were a child and nothing that happened could have been your fault or doing at such a young age. It is truly devastating to go through something that extreme in the first place and it is tremendously worse when the people (your parents, other “authority” figures) do nothing to support you afterward, it almost makes it seem like it is happening over and over again. I feel like you will never truly heal from that kind of thing until you claim complete independence and remove those kind of people from your daily life, so long as your lives intertwine you kind of relive their craziness and watch as it seems to filter down into your own actions. Chin up!

      Ursula, I think you are thinking of OxyContin, which is a strong painkiller that is usually considered heroin in pill form because of it’s highly addictive qualities. Oxytocin is the love hormone, it is supposed to be one of the main reasons mothers and children form such a strong bond. https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/oxytocin

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      1. Thank you very much, for many reasons, most of all for being you 🙂 I always read your comments with a certain voice which is calm and considered.

        Yep, I got completely confused, partly due to my dyslexia (oxytocin/oxycontin – the letters used are too similar, and the dyslexic mind flips letters around) and partly due to just me being me, thanks for clearing that one up. It’s an intriguing mix-up – narcissistic mothers don’t tend to bond with their children, not in the way which is usually expected of mothers with their child. The love is not a natural one. And is never unconditional or anything remotely along those lines. It’s a pact made later to ensure survival, usually of the mother.

        What you’ve written to Ella is beautiful, thank you. Very true.

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          1. Ella expressed ‘the pact’ in the story of her life and her relationship with her mother which she shared. The child is required to sacrifice itself for the ‘good’ of the narcissist mother.

            The mother’s ‘love’ (oxytocin) is something the narcissist’s child learns from the get go is something which the child must ‘win’ by doing the mother’s bidding, feeding her need, nurturing her, mothering the mother, catering to her image and identity – the biggest part of which is to support mommy dearest in her desire to be seen as ‘the perfect mother’. Don’t do anything which makes mother look ‘bad’, even if mother is a ‘bad mother’. If mother is not catered to then there will be pain – the antidote to which is in the child’s hands and requires that the child dose itself heavily (with oxycontin of the narcissist kind) to withstand the situation.

            It’s explained in this article to some extent – http://krillco.hubpages.com/hub/The-Child-Victim-of-a-Narcissistic-Personality-Disordered-Parent – which is quite long.

            Here’s the gist of it:

            “The child victims of NPD parents are simply there to supply the parent ego boosting reassurance; the parent needs the child to adore and agree with them always, something that the child gets very skilled at doing when in the presence of the parent. Away from the parent, these children are often depressed, anxious, and morose, as if they have simply given up on being a normal child.”

            “The child learns that they must set aside the things that are important to them or the things that they would like to do, because it is only what the NPD parent wants that counts. The parent always places their own desires and needs before the child, often cloaking this with the altruistic statement that the parent is just doing what is best for the child.”

            The child of a narcissist is not allowed to be a child – that is the role of the narcissist parent. However they need the child to ‘help’ them get away with this. That’s part of the ‘pact’ – you get my love when you do what I need you to do and when you are who I need you to be – so that the narcissist can seem to be who they’re pretending to be and pretending to do. The survival of their pretense relies on the child not giving away the truth of the matter.

            You’ll find out more about it by reading up on what it is like to be the child of a narcissist. But if you’re the child of a narcissist, you know the story already.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks, I will try to get around to reading that, but I think you’ve explained it sufficiently. It sounds eerily familiar, now if I can keep from repeating the cycle myself, I’ll be good, guess that’s the difficult part. 🙂 thanks again.

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              1. Trust yourself, you’ll be fine.

                The cycles in our lives are there as guidelines… sometimes we repeat them, we learn when we do, and we bring our own interpretation and awareness to bear upon them, and that makes all the difference. 🙂

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  25. Hi, sorry if this comment is a little late. You write beautifully just so you know. I don’t consider my parents to be narcissistic, in fact they’re really great, caring people, they just aren’t the best parents. I started getting frequent panic attacks when I was five, and instead of receiving help, I was shamed. I learned from a young age that any and all pain is shameful and should be kept hidden. Because of my anxiety I felt a permanent sense of shame, which led to a permanent state of pain. I’m eighteen and have been seeing a therapist for a few years now. I’ve learned how to manage my anxiety and depression, but I don’t know where to start to get rid of my shame. My whole life I’ve felt like I was nothing, not even human, the same way a toy that is broken is no longer a toy, it’s just trash. Despite the fact that they will never make me feel loved, I want to stop blaming my parents and forgive them for any mistakes they made so that I can find peace. However, my resentment towards them runs so deep inside me and seems like such a strong part of who I am that I don’t know if that’s even possible. You seem like a good person to talk to about this, so I’m hoping you can give me advice.Thank you for this article, you said a lot of things I really needed to hear right now.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Do you know what caused your five year old self to develop panic attacks? Do you know why you were shamed instead of being given help? Do you know the whole story behind it? Not just your story but your parents’ stories which probably caused yours.

      When adults shame a child for something it usually means that the parent is afraid of what the child is expressing because it is threatening the parent in some manner, triggering something which they are denying in themselves. You were not allowed to feel what you were feeling or express it because your parents were suppressing it in themselves and were afraid of your emotions, because they were afraid of their own emotions, feelings, thoughts. Their need to control you through shame was about controlling themselves.

      Parents often pass their own wounds onto their children.

      If your parents were going through a traumatic experience or something like that at the time which upset the stability in the home, and they were feeling a lot of fear and anxiety, but were suppressing it. If they were pretending that everything was okay when it wasn’t, your panic attacks would have been seen as an expression of what they were trying to hide and therefore you were bullied with shame into hiding it too.

      This is quite an interesting article – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/promoting-empathy-your-teen/201407/when-parents-blame-their-children

      In my personal experience, you can’t stop blaming your parents until you figure out what the blaming is about. What the blaming is expressing. Within it lies information. The resentment which you feel towards them is not unhealthy, it is informing you that there are issues which need to come out into the open so that you can understand your own story. You need to express what you have within you, acknowledge your experience, validate your feelings, accept and understand yourself.

      This is an interesting site – http://www.angriesout.com/grown17.htm – it is aimed at children, but it works for adults too, especially those who need to understand their inner child’s experience and how it impacts their adult self. It discusses narcissism in the family, but it isn’t just for those whose parents were/are narcissists.

      This is also an interesting article, again it is about growing up with narcissist parents, however it may have information to which you may relate – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201405/narcissistic-parents-psychological-effect-their-children

      Be careful that you aren’t perpetuating the shame by trying to stop blaming and resenting your parents, feeling that you have to forgive them and understand them, before you are ready to do so.

      The whole forgive and forget concept is often shoved down our throats by society, especially where our parents are concerned, and society sometimes makes us feel ashamed and guilt-ridden for not loving our parents unconditionally, regardless of how they’ve treated us. We’re often expected to forget ourselves to forgive others, and that is not healthy.

      You are allowed to feel resentment towards and blame your parents, and still feel love towards them, they are not mutually exclusive. And if you are not ready to forgive, then you are allowed to not forgive. Forgiving will happen when you are ready to do so, the blame and resentment will ease up when what they are about is revealed. The anger is often a form of self-protection.

      The shame does not need to be ‘gotten rid of’, it needs to be confronted and understood, because it is intertwined with your life story. The unhealthy aspects of it will dissipate gradually as you release yourself from the need to be anyone other than who you are as is.

      This article touches upon shame and guilt, and their healthy and unhealthy expressions – http://www.psychedinsanfrancisco.com/energy-theft/

      Your story needs to be told in full to and for yourself, so that you can hear it and understand it. It takes time and patience, and being gentle towards yourself.

      Take good care of yourself!

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      1. Thank you, this is really appreciated:) The links were also really helpful and interesting. I’m just starting to learn about shame and the role it’s played in my life, and I was hoping that talking my parents about it wouldn’t be part of the answer, but I think I’m going to have to muster up the courage. Thanks again and I wish you the best with everything.

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        1. For me, talking with my parents was definitely not a part of the answer. As when they were talking, they were lying or rewriting the truth to suit their present version of it. Not talking with them was a part of the answer. As was breaking off all contact with them. But we each have our own path, and my parents are narcissists, whereas you say yours are not – so a different approach is perhaps required.

          I’m guessing that the reason you think talking with your parents is part of the answer is because to figure out what was going on in your family environment at the time that you developed your panic attacks when you were a child, you need your parents to fill in the blanks? Is there no one else you can contact about this? Other family members or family friends? Do you have no memories of that time or stories which you were told about that time?

          Ideally your parents will fill in the blanks, explain their side of the story, what was going on which affected you, but it very much depends on how mature they are in relation to life, to the past, to themselves and to you. If they’re still relating to you as though you are still a child, and still working on an old system, if they are still doing what they did then, which seems to be suppression of truth, they may simply make things worse. However you are older and wiser and the interaction may clarify things one way or another.

          Don’t do anything which you don’t want to do, respect yourself. However sometimes doing something you don’t want to do but need to do, can be a life changer for you, for the better. You get to see how strong and bold you are. Just make sure you do this for yourself and that you remind yourself of that throughout the experience. Parents have a way of subverting our energy away from us towards themselves.

          Make your priority your own well-being. Trust yourself. Do what is right for you. No one knows what you need as well as you do – trust that!

          Best wishes 🙂

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  26. This part of the article is the take away for me…. “If you want to give us something, give us space to break our silence. Stop judging us. Give us love, we long for that, but not the kind which constricts, censors and burdens, the kind which acknowledges we exist, which frees us to express ourselves, and which encourages us to reveal what we keep hidden, what keeps us in our prison of silence.”

    Yes! That’s exactly what I’ve been longing and longing for. Thank you for putting it into words so I can feel the truth of them as they reflect my deepest most cherished need. Exposing me and healing me at the same time. I am a recent acknowledged survivor of a Narcissist.

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  27. Hi Ursula,
    I didn’t know where to just post, so I decided to do so here. Thanks for sharing you story, and insights. I’ve been doing okay. Not fully recovered, but at least I’m out of the fog. I wanted to say thank you for all your help, and I actually think about you quite often, like a long lost friend I guess, since you’re across the pond. Maybe not in this manner, but I am grateful that our paths crossed. 🙂

    Here is an article/study I thought you would enjoy, if you haven’t already seen it.
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0103469

    Love and Light, old friend.

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      1. Ursula, I believe I posted a question recently, but I don’t remember where I posted it! Sorry, I was drinking again. :/ Can you please direct me where?
        Thanks!

        Like

  28. I really identify with you. I have two parents who are narcissists and a sister who is also a narcissist.

    To the outside world my family appears wonderful. My parents are devoted and religious, so giving and loving, etc. they really put on a show. My sister puts on a show too. She appears smart and hard working.

    I did not know my family was narcissistic. I knew something was weird about my mother and my sister. I have a lot of memories of sadistic torture. Sometimes my sister said extreme things to me- like she was going to kill me and eat stew made from my guts.

    Most of the time it was so subtle I couldn’t catch it. But I see now I have been constantly invalidated. None of my achievements were properly recognized. Instead of focusing on me and praising me, I got “good job” in front of my sister to make her jealous.

    I was bullied a lot in school. I have had a very hard time making and keeping friends. I find that I have befriended narcissists throughout my life and cut them off when I finally see they’re bad for me.

    What’s frustrating is that no one would believe me about being abused. A few months ago I had an outburst and made aggressive statements about being abused. I was upset and trying to get it out. That weekend my parents and sister got me committed to a psych ward. They painted a picture of me being some paranoid schizophrenic with no friends.

    No one in the hospital believed me, that I was abused. I got out by lying and saying I was angry at my parents and didn’t mean it. When I came home I saw they went through all my things. They always snoop, so I wasn’t surprised.

    I feel for you when you said your mom was using you to live through your accomplishments. that is extremely invalidating. I just feel like I identify a lot with your situation and I wanted to get in touch 🙂

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      How we see ourselves and how others see us is one of the great puzzles in life.

      Sometimes it can be a positive puzzle, more often than not it takes the form of a negative puzzle, especially if narcissists are involved in it, as who you are is all about who they are, who they want to be and need to be seen as being.

      Being invalidated is a crushing experience, however it can be turned into something else if you’re willing to do the work – which involves learning how to validate yourself even if no one else believes you or anything else. You can learn to become your own person, and turn what others do to you to make you be who they want you to be into inspiration to break free from that kind of dynamic in relationships.

      Mind you, breaking free from that kind of dynamic is best done undercover. If you can’t beat them, pretend you’ve joined them.

      Narcissists aren’t the only ones who behave that way. They do it more consistently than others, but it is a common element in life as humans know it, in the social sphere of human interaction. Other people like to give us roles to play for them, in part so that they can maintain the roles they’ve given themselves (which may be just a carry-on of a roles they’ve been given by someone else).

      If you’ve been given the role of ‘the crazy one’:

      a) it’s because you can’t be controlled (which always worries people) – independence is a much valued trait, but only superficially. People prefer it when you’re dependent but give the impression of being independent. If you can’t be controlled – that’s a good thing for you but is viewed as bad by everyone else for the most part.

      b) you’re being used to make the real crazy people look sane. In a Narcissistic family the crazy people outnumber the sane ones, and the crazy people think they’re the sane ones, ergo – the sane one becomes branded as the insane one.

      If you’re into reading, and into psychology, I recommend – Sanity, Madness and the Family by R.D. Laing and A. Esterson (it’s about a study they did into schizophrenia, but it’s more than that – very insightful about how your family may turn you into the crazy one for them).

      c) you’re being given a role for the benefit of the person giving it to you (see b).

      If you were genuinely insane, you’d probably be part of the ‘sane’ group and would be scapegoating someone else.

      Have you read the book or seen the film – Girl, Interrupted. It pretty much sums that dynamic up.

      “Lunatics are similar to designated hitters. Often an entire family is crazy, but since an entire family can’t go into the hospital, one person is designated as crazy and goes inside. Then, depending on how the rest of the family is feeling that person is kept inside or snatched out, to prove something about the family’s mental health.” ― Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted

      What you did to get out of the hospital – learn that lesson well, you’re going to have to keep playing that game. It’s an ugly truth, but people believe lies more easily than they believe the truth (it’s that proverb about fiction being easier to swallow than fact), particularly when your lies fit into their version of reality and themselves. More often than not people believe what they want and need to hear, and that is often a lie to maintain an illusion.

      Do what you have to do for yourself and your survival on the surface, and keep what is valuable to you somewhere safe.

      You won’t always attract and meet narcissists, there are a lot of people who are similar to you, you just have to learn to recognise who is trustworthy and who needs to be lied to or at least have the truth hidden from them.

      I may come across as very cynical… it’s a coping mechanism which allows me to cope, and also helps me to find those who are similar to me – then it becomes just about being as is.

      Take good care of yourself, you’ll meet many sharks in the sea, but also many dolphins like you 🙂

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      1. I agree that it is essential to keep playing the game. Sad though it is, dangerous people require vigilance. And I have it in spades given it was my job to be the “parent” among dreadful “children”.

        Recently I heard an extended family member’s story of her mother in law and again was confronted with the sad story of her abuse by this mother in law. As she talked about her experience, how her husband would not stand up to his mother, how the divide and conquer games were played, gaslighting etc. I stood with my mouth open and though oh no!!! No matter how many times you hear it you never get over the shock. She was receptive to some limited amounts of information about her MIL having a mental issue. But how she will deal with the division in her house is going to be so very challenging. Her only answer is to transfer her MIL to care, but her husband (golden child son) will be the sticker.

        It bothers me greatly that people don’t know about these dangerous disorders. Many families just don’t want to deal with bad stuff. Who could blame them when they think of family as a haven from the world. To know that there is danger in your home is too confronting for some.

        A great book/film on our topic is ‘White Oleander” by Janet Fitch.

        As for my experience – well I keep in mind the story of the ugly duckling. I was just in the wrong yard and was actually as swan. Nice !

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        1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

          I’d forgotten about ‘White Oleander’… that is an excellent recommendation!

          I agree. No matter how much you have lived through yourself, how inured to this kind of behaviour and treatment you may be due to experience, how much you know first hand about dealing with narcissists, etc… hearing someone else’s story of their experience will always have an impact which stirs, and is evocative.

          We learn how to cope with our personal pain… coping with the personal pain of others, that’s not always something we learn about coping with and it can knock our ability to cope quite a bit.

          We only tend to become aware of things like NPD when they affect us personally, and usually they have to do so in a negative impact manner.

          We also have to recognise it for what it is… which can be a puzzle.

          There is just too much in this world and we all have filters. If we were aware of everything… we’d give up before we even start.

          I equate that with X-mas, especially the X-mas shopping experience, so many flashing lights, blaring sounds, things trying to get our attention, decorations everywhere, people everywhere behaving in all manner of ways, including us and our nearest and dearest… we filter most of it out and focus on what is relevant to us in the here and now.

          So, unfortunately, we only tend to know about Narcissists once we’ve known a narcissist… in a negative way.

          Unless you’re in the psyche business… and even then… what you study, read in a book versus what you experience yourself… theory versus practice…!?!

          I’m saying ‘in a negative way’ simply because many people bump into narcissists daily in a positive way and benefit from the experience without having to see the dark side of the up side. Short exposure to someone with NPD can be uplifting as they are on their best behaviour which is also their most charming persona – easy to fall in love with, and prone to making you fall in love with them because of how they make you see yourself in the initial stages of contact.

          Read the blog of a narcissist and you will come away from it floating on air, even if they are discussing NPD.

          Stick around for the long term exposure and the story is very different.

          In an age of ADHD… we only tend to know things once it’s gone beyond too late. But that’s copacetic in its own way. Those sort of lessons learned won’t be forgotten. Awareness on a social level takes many years. The deeper it goes personally, the deeper it is likely to be on a collective level.

          Keep sharing what you know with those who come to you, don’t worry about everyone else, they can take care of themselves. Humans have been surviving other humans since we were first invented 😉

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  29. Alot of what you said rings true to me, I don’t have any siblings and am some kind of object my parents share to maintain a outward portrait of normality. I just want to be left alone alot of the time , not create any waves around me stuck in some form of neutrality for as long as I know , fucking thinking im invisible and shit passing up opportunities to give it to another because i don’t believe i’m good enough, I do but you know how this stuff comes back sometimes and bites you on the ass subconsciously even if you don’t believe it in theory.

    I always get abused but since I have been an adult I saw through these things some years ago , like as in what my parents really were like and the selfish tendencies that they always encompassed which makes me call them out on their shit and logically contradict what they are saying which has lead to more abuse i guess, full on physical fights with my dad , pulls the handbrake on me when driving 100 K’s writing off the car , pulling out weapons like knifes and hammers threatening to kill me etc etc

    It kinda sucks , Ive succumbed too hmm I don’t know just willing to be left alone for the rest of my life to the point of out ruling ever having a partner or kids of my own since I don’t want to put any of these tendencies onto another human being which i went through and became a part of the game speaking for conditioning and that.

    Most of my life I was very popular person with lots of friends and stuff but sadly after coming to certain realizations about myself and my upbringing in recent years , I noticed that my best friend since childhood was also a narcissist hardcore and so much of the relationship was one sided , me being some kind of idiot listening to peoples problems all the time trying to help them but never getting the same in return , always forgotten and people just assuming your happy because you don’t complain about your problems , then on the odd chance you do , you get shut down for it. They don’t want to hear it and act like ‘that’s not you’ kinda thing.

    I honestly don’t know where to go from here , i’m an imbalanced person probably never capable of having a relationship as i never even have despite being considered good liking and likable.

    Ahwel , i still wont kill myself i’m down to see it through to the end and focus on my art which is the greatest love and passion I have in my life.

    Fuck humanity , its one form of denial after another , whether you have narcissistic problems or not there are cultural and character flaws in people from all wakes of life , there’s no end to this and its pretty apparent to anyone who can take a look at the world around them with open eyes, for all the things which humans have in common we deny constantly and rather focus on things like belief, ideology, and circumstance because in the end we all are slaves to an animal body regardless of any aspect of mind.

    What i mean by that is we all share the need to eat , sleep , take a shit and eventually die. All that in the middle comes down to reproduction in an attempt of immortality by carrying on your genes through the next generation and whatnot. Everyone is fucked , i have never met a completely balanced individual in my entire life to date and i have met alot of people, and how could I when what that would entail essentially is the lack of fear towards death of the animal body , which without going into unproven theories is the end as we know it.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I get the gist of what you’re saying – as much (and as inefficiently) as one individual can get what another individual is saying. My experiences have made me cynical too – Not such a bad way to be on this planet.

      Rainbows and unicorns are for others, not for those who have grown up with narcissists and know how dangerous it can be to your personal health to believe in the power of positive (delusional) thinking and stuff which goes with that.

      Children of narcissists have a different take on what life is and what it isn’t. No one else may get it, and they may try to get us to unget our take on things – but, hey, that’s par for the course for us.

      I’ve played with the idea of killing myself, some of that playing was not playing at all. Curiosity kept me alive and still does – what happens if I stick it out. let nature do its thing. Another thing which kept me going was realising that narcissistic parents often set their kids up to kill themselves because they benefit from it – ah, the drama and power of it for them, and you’re not there to mess things up with reality. Kill yourself and your parents will milk it for themselves, and your death will not mean a thing except in terms of what they make it mean. So, stay alive if only just to fuck them and their shit up!

      Me still being alive… watch your Narc parents squirm about that!

      I know that’s not the best way to approach being alive, but sometimes it is rather satisfying. This one has been quite raw recently for me, so it’s on my mind.

      For those of us who grew up in a very narcissistic version of the world, in a family ruled by narcissists, we can end up finding narcissists in everyone – even those who are not narcissists. We have to watch out for this… but only if we want to. If there is one thing you’ve learned from your Narc parents… what is it?

      Think about it… then think about it some more. We can create our own reality and pass it on – that’s what narcissists do. Think about it and then experiment with it.

      See what happens… make your pain an ally. Use it well and it can be something which is a good guide… or something which is what guides people like narcissists.

      There are a lot of people who feel invisible in this world. Think about your experience of that and then… think about it some more.

      Feeling powerless, in pain… this is something all humans experience. What we do with it, with what it teaches us – that is what turns our invisible into something visible.

      Remember, everything has a flip side… not everyone explores that flip side. If you do… hmmmm…

      Like

  30. I moved away from my narcissistic parents 5 years ago. Everyday away from them my life gets better. Even the pain I was having in my neck is getting better. My dad is a narcissist and my mom was codependent. I feel that after she has been married to him for 50 years she is becoming more like him which is creepy. They are in their 70s my dad just recently diagnosed with kidney disease. I guess the deceitful ways are finally eating away at them. they have done unspeakable things to me. Especially when I first left they realize quickly that they had no power over me so they tried to use the legal system against me in very sick ways with their money and top notch sHark lawyers. Anyway after many years of me maintaining my independence it has finally gotten better. I will never trust them. Even with all their sickness and old age they are unable to admit their mistakes

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Kudos on going NC, it’s not an easy decision to make and even harder to implement and keep it going, especially as narcissist parents often see it as a challenge and tend to do as your parents did. A child of narcissists who tries to get away from their parents becomes the ultimate target for all the hell inside of the narcissist.

      In some ways when a child of narcissists tries to break free, a narcissist parent sees that as an arm of a leg trying to get away from their body.

      It does get better, but there’s always that sense that you can’t relax, that just when you do the other shoe drops. You just have to keep going and trust yourself. Bit by bit you get to blossom and become yourself without them – and that is a deeply moving experience.

      Best wishes, and take good care of yourself!

      Like

  31. your post has allowed me to that there might be hope for me. It was hard for me to admit to myself that i have narcissistic traits but unfortunately i do. My father is a narcissist and i think that my mother might have similar traits although i have only now come to realise because i thought she was the victim of my fathers actions. My silence has increased overtime and a certain loneliness now has been created. I don’t speak much with my father now he has never approved or believed anything i have ever said and my mother now showing similar traits. They were married for 26 years and my father had an affair and my mother still wanted to stay with him but he felt a sense of relief and used that as excuse to not continue the marriage. They divorced but he has never been guilt over his actions. My mother has played a the victim card too well using myself and sister against my father until i decided that no longer would be acceptable. She has been using my sister to blame my father further and has convinced her that we are all liars. I decided not to speak to them all and my sister keeps trying to unite us convinced that i am not aware of her being my mothers accomplice. My father has kept his silence as well since i refused to obey his majesty any further because he demands respect but gives none. So I see him from time to time and he just makes his special appearance to spoil the kids and he quickly exits without any further conversation. He is too busy with his new wify who is my age and his powerful job which gives him plenty of money which is turn he spends on himself. I barely get to see him twice a year because my eldest child is disabled i have to remain at home a lot but he flies all over the world and is his own boss but cannot take any holidays to ever see us. I am aware now that i don’t need his approval for anything because for a long time that bothered me and nearly destroyed myself. However since their divorce my mother has not made any progress with our relationship either. Although she is kind hearted and shows much more love than my father she still has allowed my father to dramatically destroy my life and even now that she knows how he is and what he has done she would still take him back in a second. She has tried to turn my sister against my father by sharing her depression upon my sister who now is depressed as well in her own life. She continues to poison my sister against me by saying that I’m constant liar and has made my sisters and fathers relationship nearly impossible to continue just like mine and my fathers. she uses her depression as a form of protection as she plays the victim once again like when she was with my father. I was aware of many of my fathers affairs and when i tried to express it at a very young age i was ridiculed and made to be a devil child. My mother has been caring for her beloved father who passed away recently. He was my hero my grandfather. when he died she never told me personally she told my sister to tell me. I was very hurt and same with my grandmother. I must admit when i am hurt i become very silence and distant and its something i’ve had to do all my life. My mother took my silence as a personal attack furthermore when it happen i was on holiday with my family in a remote area with no mobile sign so i could not call but i’ve if i could i was to hurt to put words together. Since my grandfathers death she has managed to keep her silence and instead built her alliance further with my sister. She has recently decided that she would visit her grand children and although she was here she did not come clean on anything or talk about anything but her stuff with my her new business with soap making and how she is so poor and my father is still living large with no remorse. She has now made me have serious doubt about her because i have accidentally seen physical evidence of her calling me all names and insulting my parental skills and that i spoil my children and i have no shame on myself. I now feel even more betrayed because it has now been confirmed and its no longer just my suspicion. Is my mother a narcissist too?she has always made me a sacrificial lamb in her and my fathers relationship. when i was even two years old she gave me to my grand parents to raise because she needed to go to university with my father even tough he had already cheated on her and she was not even married but wanted to very badly. when she was married to my father she controlled all his finances and for years my father allowed this but not with his present wife its the opposite he handles in all even the household problems. I feel that they are both very controlling even though my mother always used my father as excuse we are walking on egg shells. I feel that i have been walking on egg shells with her all along. My sister was born nearly 10 years later when they were then married and my fathers career had taken off. she was always kept by their side unlike myself who eventually was shipped off to boarding school at 12 years old with my mothers approval and never returned home properly.

    I feel now that both my parents are narcissists in their own way and i don’t want to be like them even though i have some traits. I do not wish for my children to be silence, distant and alone.

    I have never shared these thought with anyone so thank you for allowing me the courage to express myself within my silence.

    Like

    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      It is a powerful act of self healing to break the silence and tell our story, and by doing that we release some of the ties which bind. And we can release some of the traits which we absorbed through gentle understanding towards ourselves and our experience.

      I’ve been very narcissistic too, and sometimes I’ve wondered what many children of narcissists wonder and fear, but in expressing what I’ve kept silent, I’ve managed to see things more clearly and let go of old ways, ways which didn’t really belong to me, that were more about somehow looking after the wounds of my parents, and since I couldn’t talk about them, I acted them out. Talking about them has changed things, and allowed who I really am to emerge more freely.

      Be gentle with yourself, and keep doing what you are doing, exploring, learning, understanding. Trust yourself and take good care of yourself, tell your story, share and see what happens when your voice speaks out and up for you.

      Like

  32. So my mother has a few of the narcissistic characteristics but not all of them. She rarely says sorry, will go on for hours about how wrong someone else is living their life and how she feels the need to let them know, very critical and gets extremely upset if you criticize or even question something she did. As I child I felt that my whole family walked on eggshells and worried about upsetting her. I would feel like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I knew she wasn’t upset or was in a good mood.
    However at the same time she can be very loving, never has been physically abusive. She is usually very generous, always giving my husband and I thoughtful gifts or money for holidays/birthdays, wants to spend time with us, tells me she does love me almost everyday. She says how proud of me she is (usually when it comes to my intelligence or how I carry myself though), and sometimes says how she wishes she was smart like me.
    So my question is, are there different degrees of narcissism? Can someone have some of the qualities but seem very nice other times???

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Narcissists can be very nice, charming, generous, helpful, caring, when they’re feeling good about themselves, when they’re in control and everyone is being who they want them to be and doing what they want them to do, when others make them look good, feel good and support their identity. If their chosen identity is one which is ‘good’ then they may go out of their way to be ‘good’, and others will have to back this up.

      This – “As I child I felt that my whole family walked on eggshells and worried about upsetting her. I would feel like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I knew she wasn’t upset or was in a good mood.” – is typical of living with a narcissist, however it can also apply to certain types of anxiety disorders.

      There’s a psychologist who co-authored a book titled – Stop Walking on Eggshells – it is about NPD and BPD, which have certain similarities. You can find her articles here – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells

      When a narcissist is in a good mood, there’s usually a vague sense of unease beneath it, especially for those around the narcissist, a waiting for the other shoe to drop, a worry that if you put one foot wrong their mood will change in the blink of an eye and the sunny day will turn into a storm.

      Many narcissists aren’t physically abusive. Their abuse is predominantly emotional and psychological. It can be a subtle form of abuse which is why it is so hard to pin down and recognise.

      It’s even harder to recognise in a parent because you’re their child and may feel disloyal for diagnosing your parent with a disorder, especially one like NPD.

      There are different types of NPD and different levels on the spectrum. Many psychological articles mention the spectrum of the disorder and often add that most of what is written about NPD deals with the extreme end of the spectrum. it’s NPD simplified but NPD is very complex.

      I’m guessing you’ve been reading up on it and some of what you’ve read has clicked with you. The areas which haven’t clicked can be clarified a bit by asking yourself some questions.

      When your mother tells you that – “she wishes she was smart like me” – do you feel good about this or somehow bad about it? Is there an undercurrent which makes you uneasy? Does it feel as though she envies you? Does it feel as though she actually wishes you were not smart because you make her feel stupid?

      When your mother says that she’s proud of you – is she proud of you or of how “my intelligence or how I carry myself” make her appear? Does it feel as though your accomplishments are hers and not yours? Is her pride about her and not you?

      When she gives you gifts, does it feel like bribery?

      When she wants to spend time with you – do you feel a heavy burden to spend time with her because she wants this, and feel guilty if you don’t want to spend time with her or have time to spend with her or do you look forward to it and feel excited about it?

      When she tells you that she loves you – do her actions back up her words?

      This author and her articles are worth checking out – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love

      It can be very hard for many reasons to figure out if someone is a narcissist, when that someone is a parent it gets even harder. Pay attention to yourself, to why you’re wondering – trust your instincts and keep researching. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if they are or not, what matters is what you need for you.

      Take care of yourself.

      Like

  33. I don’t even know how to describe my dad. Every night he find something to yell about for 3 hours. He is the most irrational and impatient person I have ever know. He think his opinion is the law, and if my sister and I try to voice our opinions, he just yells at u for not respecting him. And yes, perhaps we could keep our room a little cleaner, and keep up with our chores, but no matter what we do, he always looks for something to yell about. And on the weekends, for example, when we are having a nice relaxing weekend (no major plans) he yells at u for sleeping in till 10:00. Not only that, but we can go the whole day having fun, making jokes, and no yelling, and then when the sun sets, its like the monster comes out and he yells about something. My mom on the other hand is loving and caring. Shes not perfect, but who is. My dad doesn’t except that. He always wants perfection. He always tell my mom how fat she is and even how bad my sister pplay at soccer if we have one bad game. He is as rude to our mom as he is to us, and theres never anything she can do to help us. Shes honestly the most fun mom ever, but the second dad gets home from work, hi negativity spreads.

    So my main question is this…will I turn into my dad. There are times where I feel like I have so little patients, but I never blow up like he does, but my biggest fear is turning into him. Watching him all these years has honestly taught me exactly how NOT to raise children, but im still afraid of turning into him as i get older. I have also been blessed to have been surrounded by family friends that have dads that care about me and my sister dearly and have been good influences on me (remind me how some dads can have unconditional love)….could their influence help prevent me from turning int my dad?????

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      To answer your question – No, you won’t turn into your dad. You are you and he is himself. You may have absorbed some of his traits and behaviour which is perfectly normal and natural for a child to do with their parent, but you will express them in your own way not in his way.

      The main point is to notice how aware you are – your awareness makes all the difference. This will guide you in your life as you get to know yourself better through asking questions and observing as you are already doing.

      Being impatient is normal, all humans feel this way, and experience other people as annoying sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with being impatient and getting annoyed with others. There is also nothing wrong with expressing it, as long as you keep in mind that other people are like you in some ways and also get impatient and annoyed and express that.

      What a parent should ideally teach their children is… not always what parents end up teaching their children. Children still learn and sometimes a bad parent is an inspiration to a child, like you pointed out, you now know what a bad parent is like and this has inspired you to be a different way.

      You won’t become your father, but you may have moments in life when you recognise him in you – you’re not him – these moments will allow you to understand aspects of him and why he was/is the way he was/is, and will help you to see that he was that way because of his own issues and it had nothing to do with you, or with you doing chores or tidying your room or anything else like that. He has issues, this is how they come out, this is not the best way for them to come out, especially not when it is directed at his children – that is wrong, but it’s often how adults end up doing things when they don’t deal with their issues.

      If you notice certain behaviour in yourself which reminds you of your father… sometimes we need to experience something and someone from the inside out to help us to understand our outside in experience. This is one of the ways that empathy develops. Don’t be alarmed, learn from it, understand it.

      The important thing is to ask questions, seek answers, gather information, sift through that information (keep what helps and let the rest go). Keep learning as you move through life. You won’t always be who you want to be, but that’s okay. Give yourself lots of room to grow and learn and move.

      And yes, all the good influences in your life help to balance things out, to counter the bad influences. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Let yourself be human. It won’t always be pretty or perfect or even caring, but it will be those things too. Cut yourself lots of slack. Allow yourself to be yourself, don’t worry if sometimes you’re impatient and yell – you’re not your father, you’re human. And there is much more to you than just his influence.

      People like your father tend to pass on their wound to their children, but you as his child don’t have to repeat his pattern the way that he did it, you can gently change it, heal it through knowledge and understanding – understanding that this is his wound passed onto you, you don’t have to carry it with you for the rest of your life living in fear of it, of becoming like him.

      A couple of links which may help –

      https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201108/how-empathic-parenting-is-the-antithesis-narcissism

      https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/promoting-empathy-your-teen/201407/when-parents-blame-their-children

      Keep doing what you are doing, trust yourself, and let yourself figure things out in your own time. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself because of your father and your worries about being like him. You’ll be fine, and if you do find yourself behaving like him… focus on understanding yourself and being compassionate towards yourself, and the behaviour will change naturally as you get to know yourself better and treat yourself with kindness.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank u so much!!! This really helped…and ur right…when my dad yells about something I often replay it in my head and think about how i would have treated the situation differently…I’m honestly not afraid anymore 🙂

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  34. Thank you for your words. They exactly describe how I feel inside. Everything that nobody else understands.

    After living 25 years with such a parent, I could no longer hide away from my feelings. I just felt alone, deeply missunderstood, lost, drained, full of guilt and basically dead. That’s when I broke down. Ever since then (I am 27 now) I am trying to get out of this. I started listening to my inner life and started going this way…it’s a way into deep aloneness. And this aloneness is the only place I want to be, because its the only place where I can finally take care of myself. Every single reaching out always ended the same way….no one ever understood anything and I always was the one to shame and blame, no matter to whom I spoke

    Yes, I can’t imagine anything more precious than you one person that understands you and is with you, even if it means that she/he needs to leave you alone most of the time. But there is no one to understand that. Everyone seems to not be ok with who I am so I keep to myself and work through this alone…lets see what happens.

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      It is a very lonely experience, however there is solace there which turns being alone into a peaceful solitude, a safe haven, a place to go where you can be yourself and enjoy being alive. Getting to know yourself and becoming your own closest friend – that’s a personally powerful ally to have, especially when others don’t seem to like who you are, want you to change to suit them, and things like that. You can pause, step back and shrug the identities which others give you off and be naked with yourself. Be you with yourself, supporting that within.

      It can be hard to connect with others, everyone finds that hard, even people who make it look easy. Took me a long time to realise that, that I wasn’t the only one who felt alone and misunderstood in a world full of people, that the world full of people felt the same way.

      I was reading a post and discussion on a blog the other day which reflected that. It’s an astrology blog, but the post and discussion was about life, and being social or not social. You might find it intriguing – http://www.elsaelsa.com/astrology/being-consciously-and-purposefully-anti-social – I found it most intriguing because the person whose blog it is just didn’t really get why so many people are comfortable being anti-social, as in perfectly okay with being alone.

      What helped me the most was to turn my attention to giving myself what I wanted from others, to understand myself and not expect it from anyone else. It also helped me to give to others what I wanted, to make an effort to understand others, because everyone longs to be understood, heard, listened to, without expecting anything in return – what I got from it was understanding others better, getting to know them, and through that, understanding myself better. Over time this evolved into being able to recognise those who, like me, need their time alone. Those with whom I am closest are all like this, we understand that that about ourselves and each other, so you can say – I need to be alone now – they get it, and they can say it too and you get it, there’s no guilt, shame, or anything like that, just loners being loners together, appreciating the social moments and the hermit time.

      Life is very much an adventure of trying things out and seeing what happens… there are some lovely surprises along the way, which are worth discovering, and they make the ugly moments fade away to a degree.

      Trust yourself…

      Like

  35. You’re a poet… This article is the poetry of the Soul. I write poetry of the Soul, too (not publicly, not yet). It may sound crazy, but I think perhaps we’re the lucky ones. Being a child of two narcissistic parents (one covert, and one overtly, charmingly, so), I became a Seeker at a very young age. I’ve grown exponentially from such a deeply degrading relationship with my father… that I truly feared annihilation if I confronted him. I believe that it’s not what happens to us that counts, it’s what we do with those experiences and hurts. I could have taken a much darker path – though there was a lot of self-destructive behaviour in my younger years, but nothing criminal. Of course I wouldn’t hurt others when I could carry on the parental abuse and harm my unlovable self. I write this with irony, because finally – finally – I actually LIKE myself! At fifty-five, I’ve finally become a functioning adult. But I had to break through all the brainwashing first – being in our ‘perfect’ family was like living in a mini cult. For more years than I care to remember, my inner self was in a constant state of turmoil, from a slightly uneasy feeling, to blinding panic. Yet here I am – I’ve come through the angst, anxiety attacks, panic, fear of success, fear of annihilation, fear of confronting my father (and releasing myself and him in the process), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (is it any wonder???), and some bereavements that were too close together for me to be able to recover between losses. I thought I would never get through it all. But I have. And stronger, more compassionate, and more full of love that I ever dreamed possible…

    It certainly doesn’t happen overnight, though. I’d been doing lots of inner healing work over the years, and thought it might be safe to date. He told me he was a nice guy (all the time), and that I just didn’t like nice guys. But he acted like a complete control freak! It was so confusing, and I felt the old panic coming up again. Then his flatmate suggested I might be codependent. That really opened a can of worms! I’d never even heard the term, so I looked it up, then found some books on codependency (I especially liked Facing Codependence, by Pia Mellody), and articles on narcissism and parental alienation syndrome, and they really helped me to put things into perspective. One of the greatest tools to healing, though, was when I learned how to clear the projected stuff from where it was stuck in my body, making me sick. Finding a good kinesiologist can be a lifesaver, and can start you on the road to recovery – as long as you can walk away from them if they also show narcissistic tendencies…

    Walking away has been the most difficult thing for me. I think that comes from being abandoned emotionally, and physically, as a child. I have had a tendency to cling – not my proudest moments… But I’m consciously working on that too, which is helping me feel calmer. And, I won’t actually die if I have to take care of myself! My parents never taught me to be independent (but they did teach me how to take care of their needs…) so I was terrified of leaving home. I had no idea how to take care of myself. I didn’t know what my needs were, and confused wants with needs – and other people’s wants were always put before my own. I know now that I’m not alone, and that’s encouraging. Forums and blogs such as these help all of us to feel less alone in our experience. And for that, I thank you.

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      Wow! I can see so many parallels of experience between us. You’ve articulated the experience brilliantly!

      I have to confess that walking away, terminating my association with my parents, was easier for me than keeping those ties. I kept those ties longer than I should have done so because I felt that I should do so. It was a duty and a chore, much influenced by society, not just my parents. I would have cut those ties as a child if I had found the right opportunity, but of course narc parents are always paranoid about that, they’re terrified of being abandoned (my mother actually vocalised that to me on multiple occasions which made me conscious that she was threatened by this and I should endeavour not to cause her to feel this threat from me) and tend to cut off escape routes if you find one and even if you don’t, just the suspicion of it is enough for them to deploy the big guns and burn your bridges or convince you to burn them.

      It takes ages to work through all the brainwashing, the story upon story, the confusion, but… I totally agree that it does inspire the will to do it from an early age because you know there is something wrong with the picture and you’re inspired to figure it out for yourself (but you have to do it secretively – they can’t know about it).

      We’re not alone, there are so many adult children of narcissists that it really makes you wonder… many things, however the relief of finally putting things together, finding each other, sharing our stories and helping each other know that we are not as alone as we always believed we were… what a wonderful find. Appreciated more as we progress along our own individual path.

      I have had the same concerns as you about the different therapies offered which I have explored along the way. I did initially find myself drawn to cult-ish, narcissistic therapies, and luckily learned quickly that I was putting myself into a repeating the known situation. So I adjusted to keep my distance, but get the best out of each therapy.

      Take what you need from the teaching, don’t get too attached to the teacher and don’t let the teacher get attached to you as a pupil. The co-dependency concept is an interesting one with great insight to offer… although some of those tackling it and offering insight into it… be careful.

      An ACoN has to keep their wits about them. We’ve been trained to look after the needs of others, and narcissists are not the only others who have needs that want to be catered to. The most personally powerful thing we can do for ourselves is exactly what you said – to take care of ourselves, first. And I always add to that – know that others can take care of themselves and don’t need you to do that, and if you do, they do not need to be put first in front of you – that’s their job to do for themselves with themselves.

      Boundaries… healthy lines to draw for both sides of the equation.

      Thank you ❤

      Best wishes on your continued journey, thank you for sharing your story and inspiration!

      Like

      1. Thanks, Ursula. Yes, I agree with the principle of taking what you need from the therapies and leaving the rest. We’re not a ‘one size fits all’ group of people – we’re still individuals. I did go to a couple of CoDA meetings, but saw after the second one that it wasn’t for me. For so many, the twelve-step meetings become another addiction, and, although I know those meetings have been lifesavers for thousands of people worldwide, they can also prevent people from becoming independent, intuitive, and self-aware… Just an observation, and certainly if it works for someone, then that is their journey, and not mine. I did learn through a couple of the books, though, that I don’t need to take care of others – and that can be a difficult lesson for children of narcissists, can’t it? Especially if you’ve done a lot of work yourself, and can see the bigger picture. But I realised that it’s none of my business what path anyone else takes, even if it is leading to self-destruction… I may say something, but then I let go, and know that all paths (eventually) lead to Enlightenment. Believing that this isn’t our only chance at it helps…

        My father was, in all appearances, a great dad. He played with us, took us to school dances, etc., but he was a total control freak. In retrospect, I realise that we did the things he wanted to do, but he was fun, too – thus the pull of inner conflict that I’ve felt in wanting to free myself from him.

        Nobody believed me about him when I was growing up, because he was so likeable – and my sister adored him, so I felt completely alone in my feelings. My sister died in 2010, and I ran into her best friend from high school shortly afterwards. We went for a coffee and got talking about relationships (she’d recently remarried and was the happiest I’d seen her). I said how I never seemed to be able to talk to guys I really liked, and so I felt pulled towards guys I didn’t like. To this, she said, “Your father was so controlling,” and went on to tell me a story about my sister, and how Dad had humiliated her over shaving her legs for the school walkathon. That was the first time ANYONE had told me my father was controlling. She thought that his behaviour made me afraid of men, even in my 50s, and I then started having more insights about my behaviour. It felt easier to go out with a guy I didn’t really like, because it wouldn’t matter so much if he left me… Ouch! But I inevitably left them anyway.

        As I’ve grown, I’ve slowly let go of everyone in my life – all the people I was drawn to toxically have had to be cut loose, because our energies no longer fit… I’m no longer afraid of total aloneness, because I feel more supported and loved by God, the Universe, and my own Soul now than I ever did – not that I AM more of those things, but I’m finally able to feel it. For me, it’s all about raising my consciousness, and that helps everyone to expand in consciousness. So ‘helping’ people through codependent behaviour felt like the smallest picture available, whereas letting go and really helping, through focusing on my own growth, felt like I’d found the big picture and was able to live it.

        Anyway, just saying it all out loud (or in print) without the need for agreeance or acceptance of my views feels a lot like freedom… Thanks again for starting your blog. I know the people who need it will find it – that’s the beauty of the Universe…

        Like

        1. Saying it out loud and in print… personal power in action. Sometimes the best way to break the silence is to talk and let whoever hears it, hear it… the most important person who needs to hear it is you.

          When you grow up with narcissists you learn to stop listening to yourself, because that means seeing the truth and that can be too hard for many reasons. We sometimes go a long way away from ourselves to survive that kind of environment, but we can find our way home to us, and then we need to listen to what we’ve never voiced out loud.

          Listen to yourself, don’t worry about others – you’ve spent a lifetime doing that, you do it well – now focus on yourself, listen to yourself and follow your own voice, see where it leads, risk the adventure.

          Best wishes 🙂

          And feel free to express yourself here any time you need and want to ❤

          Like

  36. I feel like you’ve been a fly on the wall of my childhood. Thank you for such a poignant message. It resonates with me. I was an only adopted child of two narcissists. On the outside, it looked ok, but there was a smear campaign run against me by my parents & their families.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      It always looks good on the outside, the family of a narcissist is always perfect on the outside as narcissists study such things on a constant basis, and dealing with how outsiders perceive it – which is a focus of the narcissist’s attention – makes the truth feel like it is an hallucination and the lies seem like the truth – at least a truth more people are willing to believe that the real truth.

      You can’t fight mirages, and that is the basics of a smear campaign. A narcissist can tap into others, outsiders, in a way that their ‘victims’ can’t, because the victims of a narcissist tend to have morals, whereas a narcissist has a different take on such things due to how they view the world of people and what they have learned about people from manipulation. Narcissists tend to play to the vices of others and how others cover up and rewrite those vices as virtues, and they use that (subtle blackmail and promises of rewards) to support what they are doing. Whereas the victim of a narcissist keeps hoping for the best in everyone… that kind of hope may need to wait for a long time before it is actualised.

      My parents gave me an insider view into the world of narcissists… took me a long time to realise what they were actually showing me as I kept hoping that others would see what I saw… the narcissists know why others don’t see those things, which is why their game works and ours doesn’t. It’s a cruel lesson… but all the negative does have a positive side.

      You will meet people who can see straight through narcissists, just as you do and can, and those meetings will help in ways you never knew that others could help (due to the incredible solitude and loneliness of growing up in a narcissist’s family).

      Never give up on yourself, trust yourself, and take good care of yourself!

      Like

  37. Thanks so much for this blog. Sadly, there are only books for daughters of narcissistic mothers. Well, I am a son of one…no pun intended…I moved away from my parents when I was 24. It is tough to find and trust others. Many human cultures glorify the mother role as if mothers can never do wrong…and we must always kow-tow to them…especially true in churches which are more “family unit” oriented and in favor of the parent than the child.
    Others tend to normalize narcissistic behavior when we tell them about our narcissistic parent story such as Asian and Hispanic cultures. I find people’s at churches most judgmental…especially other young women, who normalize behavior as if they all have synced mind and body. These women are self righteous and say…it is because women can’t control their emotions…so to be a man we must take it as men…to me these ladies who say this are although Christian are naive, self righteous bitches. The other type are the happy go luckies who tell children of narcissistic parents to hug them and always affirm them … submit…and these parents will change. I have heard every lame response. I am Asian, from generally strict, academic cultures…and my peers have normalized this behavior and even giving me a hard time that I wasn’t tough enough to suck it up like a man. Even my student pastor…who came to USA at 14 years of age, and he was the type who listened to everything his parents told him…never questioned them…God forbid you do that!! But correct, trust yourself, knowing narcissistic personality in someone is a big step! I am thankful for this blog. Also…Christian radio means well…but they tend to edify these perfect family, mother scenarios or share testimonies where it is almost always the father who is the “bad guy”…makes me angry or want to puke. I even called one of the stations.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      You’re right, there is far more literature concerning daughters of narcissists than there is concerning sons of narcissists. I think perhaps because women tend to discuss their problems more openly, more publicly and at length than men do while searching for a solution or just for the sake of discussing a pressing issue.

      There are books written about NPD whose authors are male, in fact until recently the literature on NPD was predominantly a male domain. A fair amount of the literature on the subject is still written by males, many of whom have experienced a narcissist, either as a spouse or other intimate relationship, or as a parent.

      Female psychologists approach the subject from a feminine angle, which may be insightful for both men and women, but may leave men with a sense that their issues have not been covered in a manner which suits their gender’s style. Perhaps it is due to a gender bias in general society, one which is occasionally addressed but as yet has not been redressed. The balance is uneven for males who suffer abuse. I think society still expects men to keep a stiff upper lip and keep going no matter what. Women are encouraged to emote and express, while men are seemingly encouraged to do so but then they are often reprimanded at the same time for doing so. Which can cause cognitive dissonance and confusion.

      I do think that things are changing, that more men are speaking out and sharing their stories. It is a slow yet steady change. One of the blogs I follow which addresses being a son of a narcissist is this one – http://thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com/

      This is an interesting blog too – http://www.arachnoid.com/psychology/narcissism_revisited.html

      As for Narcissism in diverse cultures, and the customs which go with those cultures. I have come across a few articles on the subject, but expressing these views online often causes controversy in the comments section which may discourage people from discussing it further. The arguments which flare up in the comments often overwhelm the article. The same applies to linking religion and narcissism. It can take society a while to accept alternate ways of viewing, and then expressing those alternate views, something which is considered ‘untouchable’.

      Quite a few people who write about narcissism have broached the subject, but it tends to cause a bit of a kerfuffle and the main points get lost in ensuing arguments.

      Such as the notorious ‘Tiger Mother’ issue a few years ago. Where an Asian mother shared her child rearing technique… and it kind of exploded, powered in part by capitalism rather than interest in an issue.

      People do indeed normalise narcissistic behaviour, this is partly due to ‘self-preservation’ and ‘primal’ instincts which all humans have, and partly due to all of us relating to the healthier side of narcissism which is normal for all humans as it is a natural phase of human development, and society often encourages healthy and a certain amount of unhealthy narcissism, so distinguishing where the line is crossed can be very complex and most people don’t bother with it until it affects them very personally in a very negative way. This societal bias causes us to make excuses for narcissism when it expresses itself ‘abnormally’ and ‘unnaturally’. A child of narcissists is up against a very high wall when trying to expose the unhealthy narcissism of their parents. The strongest part of the wall is – these are your parents and they love you even if they treat you very badly. Shut up and put up with it. If that view is backed up by cultural and religious belief, it is pretty much impossible to break through it and other means are needed to deal with it.

      An intriguing view of this – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-therapist-is-in/200910/poisonous-parents-should-you-cut-them
      Also worth a read – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/promoting-empathy-your-teen/201407/when-parents-blame-their-children

      In my father’s culture and the religious norm for that culture, a narcissistic mother is the accepted and desired view of a mother. Understanding his background helped me to understand his narcissism and how it affected me after it filtered through him. Narcissism and NPD tend to work their way down through family, cultural, and religious ties. Which is why is can be very difficult to untie yourself from its effects on you.

      The ‘bad guy’ issue and label is very frustrating from many diverse angles. Blaming the ‘man’ or ‘father’ happens very strongly in families with a narcissist female and ‘mother’, and can be very insidious if she is a covert narcissist. The narcissist mother never ever sees how what she is doing damages her children. If you tell a child that one of their parents is ‘bad’ you are telling that child that half of it is ‘bad’. This is an issue often discussed in ‘parental alienation’. When one parent destroys the other in the eyes of their children, and other similar scenarios.

      The ‘bad’ label is also prevalent in the ‘victims of narcissists’ communities. Wherein someone gets labeled ‘a narcissist’ and then it is open season on that person, and whether they are one or not is never questioned.

      It is very human tendency and one which is hard to escape or deal with rationally.

      The do-gooders, mean well… but their well-meaning hides many issues (and paves the road to hell) which are often ones from which they are attempting to escape. Someone who tells you to ‘hug it out’ is perhaps in denial of something within themselves and their story, and they need your support more than you need their support. This interconnectedness can cause our personal issues to intertwine with the personal issues of others which ends up creating a Gordian Knot and… we all end up waiting for someone else to slice through the knot for us.

      If you perceive a void… fill it rather than wait for someone else to fill it for you. If you have a need, nourish that need for yourself… rather than wait for someone else to nourish your need as they may be waiting for someone else to nourish their needs, and those they are waiting on are also waiting.

      Trust you insight and follow it to wherever it leads. Take care of yourself. Best wishes!

      Like

    2. Dear David

      Thank you for your story, you are a brave man. My son is sixteen now and his father a MN passed away eighteen months ago setting us free.

      I am helping my son heal now by trying to help him develop the social emotional and life skills he needs now to be healthy and have healthy relationships.

      My question to you is if you were my son if you were sixteen what do you think you need?

      Thanks Marie

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    3. David,

      People I have known who have religious affiliation struggle with narcissistic parents due to the biblical urgings to
      “honor thy father and mother”.

      I once read a very affirming article pointing out that rather than ignore the failings of those parents the children should take this commandment as understanding that fathers and mothers are not perfect people. Rather they have histories and problems too and to “honor” means one must work with those flaws that they bring to their roles as parents. It does not mean to offer blind obedience.

      So much more affirming I thought.

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      1. Zinia, that’s a very helpful affirmation for me also. Thank you. To honour our parents (and everyone else) ‘as they are,’ and not try to change them, or hope they’ll change, is very life affirming. To be able to honour all living things – including plants, insects, etc. – is the highest thing we can do as humans. But, once we’re adults, we no longer have to obey our parents. It’s a tough one to actually break contact, though, and breaking away from my father, despite his game-playing, and the pain of the past, has been the most difficult decision of my life. It was only recently that I did, and I’m grieving my loss… David, don’t expect it to be easy. It isn’t. And, may I say from experience – it’s better to resolve your own anger first, rather than breaking away in anger. At least it was the case for me…

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  38. I am also the youngest child of a narcissist father (or may be mother as well). In fact lately I’m confused that my mother is also a narcissist, though I’ve always believed she is the soft one. But she has her emotional ways of manipulating me into agreeing to do what my narcissist father wants me to do. Yes I’ve been manipulated all these years. And today I stand at a place where I do see what is wrong with my life, why even after 28 years of my life I am still dependent on my parents, why I do not have any close friends for long, why I have never sustained a relationship, why I am attracted to the wrong type of men at times. But I feel I still can’t do anything about it, for I know not whether I can undo the damage already done. Where I belong, we have a culture of single daughters staying with their parents till married. And so I have stayed with my parents till date and continue to do so even today. I have isolated myself/ or my parents have managed to isolate me to serve their purposes alone.

    Lately I’ve been looking for someone who would believe me when I told them what is wrong with my life. But havent found anyone. So I feel it is a good idea to be able to leave a comment here. Helps me express what I feel, and I know you would believe me, the way I believe you.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I know that feeling well – “I’ve been looking for someone who would believe me” – the longing for someone who would listen and understand. It’s harder to find than we realise until we look for it as so many claim to be understanding until you put them to the test. People do try to be as understanding as they say they are, but saying it and doing it is very different for many intricate reasons. One of which is we all tend to overestimate our capabilities when dealing with the lives of others and what we often forget is that someone else’s experience may trigger all sorts of hidden things within us.

      When I was younger I tried to share my situation with others, they rejected me. I couldn’t figure out why and took it very personally and spiraled into deep depression amongst other angst. Later, when I’d had the experience of others coming to me the way I had gone towards others, I began to understand the complexity of the situation better. Some people just don’t know how to help us when our situation is… the kind which includes narcissists. When we go to people hoping they will help us and they push us away, it’s because they don’t know how to help, their inability to help makes them feel powerless… and no one likes to feel that way. They may also have problems of their own which make them feel powerless and our request for help may be too overwhelming, so they detach before they fall apart or lose themselves in us and our problem.

      Relationships, even without a narcissist involved, are complicated, a blending of many elements of you and of the other. It’s a bit like a formula in science, only it is not chemical reactions but people reacting to people, so the results are less reliable. If a narcissist is involved in the scenario then things get even more volatile and unexpected.

      Things to keep in mind:

      – Other people may be struggling with their own problems, they may be putting on a brave face, they seem ‘fine’ to you but they may not be ‘fine’ at all, and so your problems trigger theirs and they push you away to protect themselves.

      – Discussing the complexity of being a child of narcissists can usually only be understood by other children of narcissists. And even then, you need to know where they are on their path of understanding their own legacy.

      – If someone has never known a narcissist (someone with NPD), or at least known the other less publicly known and favourable side of a narcissist, they may not know that such type of people exist – other than in fiction and that’s fiction to them, a not-real. So they may have trouble understanding how something/someone fictional could be real.

      eg. I had to hire a lawyer to communicate with my NPD mother. This lawyer did the usual – I’m sure she’s not as bad as yout hink she is, she seems nice to me, why don’t I try to ‘fix’ things between you, etc. I gnored this as I have learned to be patient and understanding of the views of outsiders with such situations. A few months later they requested that I never ask them to deal with my mother ever again because she was crazy, was doing their head in and they couldn’t handle such a difficult person. And there you have it. This lawyer thought that what I had told them about my mother was unbelievable, that I was either exaggerating, lying or something equally unflattering until they experienced my mother (a person with NPD) for themselves.

      Try not to expect too much from outsiders, it makes things less painful and makes it simpler to sort complicated things out. Learn to trust yourself without needing validation from the outside world. This is beneficial on many other levels too.

      In your words I can hear you judging yourself. This is normal, and hard to stop doing. At 28, you think you should be… [fill in the blank] and since you’re not what you think you should be, you may be judging yourself for it, using comparison and other things to hurt yourself. And even if you can explain it – Yes, NPD parents tend to cripple their children and isolate them (why else would you stay with them). NPD parents tend to feel threatened by their children the moment they have them, even when the child is just a baby. Those with NPD live in an alternate reality where everyone and everything is terrifying, even a baby. They can’t trust you, their child, to love them (as they don’t see themselves as loveable no matter what mask they wear) enough never to abandon them (they have huge abandonment issues which are expressed in ever increasingly twisted ways), so they create a scenario where your wings are always clipped. If you never get to be independent then you can’t get away from them and it’s always your fault, not theirs. They are stuck with you, poor them = you will always be there, dependent on them, and they can benefit from it in many ways and never get found out.

      Try to ease up on your self-judgement if you can. Take the time to understand what lies behind the appearances. Don’t worry too much about not having close friends, even people with seemingly millions of friends usually only have one or two close friends. It’s actually something which has been researched scientifically and the results have proven to be ‘contrary to popular belief’. Most humans only deeply connect with very few other humans because it takes a lot of time and effort to truly get to know someone else that closely and intimately.

      Try to relax your view of your ‘damage’. All humans suffer damage due to living, this is not always something which needs to be ‘repaired’. Explore other ways of seeing it. Some of the greatest writers, artists, creatives, etc, have used their ‘damage’ as inspiration for their creativity. Pain is universal, so is being a messy human. There is no such thing, as far as I know, as a perfectly undamaged human. So cut yourself lots of slack. Be good to yourself, and be your own best friend, our other relationships (beyond those which we have with our parents) are influenced by the relationship which we have with ourselves. So take some time to develop a good one with yourself, an accepting and supportive one, which also accepts that you may not love all aspects of yourself. That is a part of relationships too.

      I do believe you and expressing yourself is a healthy nourishment of the self 🙂

      Best wushes, and take good care of yourself!

      Like

      1. Thank you so much for the kind words. Feels nice when someone understands these terms and how you feel. But as greedy as we all are, when someone appears to understand you, you wish you could keep speaking to them. You think they have all your answers and can help you change your life. So here I go with a bit more of my story..

        I have been taking lots of care of myself lately. But I somehow can’t get over the guilt that I pushed someone who really loved me away from my life because of my parents. I got so easily manipulated by them and could not take a stand. I am afraid that I will get manipulated easily in the future also and will be kept from leaving their shelter. I’m more afraid of my mother emotionally manipulating me, than my narcissist father. Could my mother actually be a narcissist- passive narcissist may be?

        I’ve tried self-forgiveness but the guilt keeps coming back. Hope it heals with time.

        Wish I can interact more with you and pour out my heart to you. Like I said greedy me :p. Anyways, lots of love and blessings to you.

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        1. Thank you 🙂

          It is a wonderful feeling to meet someone who gets you, gets your story and lets you express yourself as you are, tell your tale. Breaking the silence is exhilarating and also a bit frightening at times. Expressing your story is a powerful act of personal power, but that kind of power is unfamiliar to children of narcissists, or at least owning it is because every time you get a bit of personal power the narcissists sniff it out and try to take it away. They have a nose for such things and keep a very watchful eye on their children (even when you’re an adult you’re always just a child to them and they own you).

          Your ‘easily manipulated’ issue stems from being a child growing up with narcissists. All children are very open to the influences around them, they absorb everything. As you get older and more consciously aware of what is going on, your ability to be influenced easily will subside. Being aware is a big game changer. Awareness tends to increase with age as perspective becomes more focused. One of the areas to work on is boundaries, defining your personal boundaries. This is particularly important for children of narcissists because we often have few if any due to our training by narcissist parents. All children have no boundary between self and other (and parent) because as child needs to be bonded, boundaries are something we learn as we grow, but if your parents are narcissists the natural process gets warped by the narcissist to suit their needs. The narcissist parent does not have boundaries with their child and never forms them, so the child of narcissist is always an extension of the narcissist parent… until the child of narcissists separates itself (which can be quite painful but is ultimately liberating and healthy). Your narcissist parent will never respect your boundaries no matter what, but you can learn to respect your own which is very important as this will affect your relationships with others outside of your family.

          With regards to your question about your mother – There is such a type of narcissist who appears to be passive. This type of narcissist is referred to in terms such as covert, vulnerable, sensitive, passive-aggressive and inverted.

          https://www.firstwivesworld.com/index.php/my-narcissistic-ex-husband/item/8320-passive-aggressive-narcissists-are-eternal-victims

          http://thenarcissisticlife.com/the-passive-aggressive-narcissist/

          http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201111/two-types-narcissists-pose-somewhat-different-challenges

          http://thenarcissisticlife.com/the-inverted-mirror-narcissist/

          There is a lot of info on this type of narcissist. There is also info on co-dependents of narcissists, who sometimes behave in a way which can be confused with them being a narcissist too.

          I quite like this site as a guide to all the variations which can occur in the family dynamic which includes at least one narcissist – http://www.angriesout.com/grown20.htm – that site has many interesting articles on the subject.

          This is also a good article – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/200905/the-line-between-victims-and-abusers – as although it can sometimes be difficult to tell is someone is a ‘victim of a narcissist’ or a ‘narcissist playing the victim’ there are certain glaring differences which come to light once you investigate them, look at them more closely.

          Covert narcissist are extremely adept at emotional blackmail and make you feel bad no matter what you do, whether you please them or displease them you always feel awful. – http://www.psychedinsanfrancisco.com/energy-theft/

          The guilt thing is a constant for humans, it is part of the human condition, and the trait is actually valuable to social relations because it is how we discern what is right and wrong, so it can’t be totally healed (as in gotten rid of) unless you become a sociopath, however it can be dealt with in a positive way instead of a negative one. This is an interesting take on Guilt – http://psychcentral.com/lib/how-do-you-forgive-yourself/00016908

          Narcissists and other manipulators use guilt to get people to do what they want them to. That side of guilt can be dealt with by questioning the type of guilt which you are experiencing. In other words, is it genuine guilt or induced by something or someone to manipulate you.

          One of my methods for dealing with guilt, and guilt-trips, the kind induced by manipulators, is to review what would happen to them if I don’t do what they are guilting me into doing. Most people can take care of themselves and won’t be harmed by you being selfish. Narcissists may put on a very good act of impending death and doom, but it’s surprising how resilient they are when you refuse to give in to their guilting. It takes practice, but eventually you get a good guage on what is real guilt and what is manipulative guilt.

          One of the reasons why self-forgiveness doesn’t work is because you have nothing for which to forgive yourself as you didn’t actually do anything wrong. However you are dealing with a narcissist and everything is wrong to them because they are a twisted mess inside and pass that on to others.

          You can interact with me on my blog as much as you want to. I don’t do email. So feel free to express yourself here as much as you want – no guilt included unless you bring your own 🙂

          Like

          1. 🙂 🙂 :)… Thanks for this database of information. I will definitely go through all of them.

            Last year when I began to detach myself from my father and take control of my life, my father played the “oh I’m on the verge of a heart attack” game. Though the doctors found him healthy and no where close to getting a heart attack. Yet he continued the drama for sometime. He was blackmailing me into marrying somewhere I wasn’t too convinced about. (We also have a system of arranged marriages here). Thankfully I managed to stand through that manipulation and stuck to my decision of I won’t marry someone I’m not convinced about.

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            1. Thank you 🙂

              We learn best by doing, and sometimes those lessons can be tough, especially when we are going against a parent, particularly one who is a narcissist, defying cultural tendencies, and sticking to what we believe and want for ourselves.

              Trust yourself, rely on your own vision for your life and your own strength to see it through. Kudos for standing up for yourself, take great courage and is rewarding (even when it doesn’t always seem that way).

              Best wishes for 2015. Keep being yourself and following your heart!

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              1. Last month I moved out of my house!! Feel peaceful generally to be away from the home that houses narcissistic and enabler energies. But I fear being manipulated into going back. My N father is playing his games- ssometime he would just drop by without informing me. When I dont visit them on weekends he would call me or send me guilt inducing messages. I wish, like my sisters, I could have also been able to break-free from my parents under covers. But no I could not help expressing it that I am leaving because of him. This clearly gives him all reason to make my life hell now.

                I hope my God protects me from his manipulations. Learning to be independent comes with its own set of problems. Specially for I was not only dependent for decision making, but also financially dependent on my parents. Want all the best wishes to be able to cruise through this never before explored ocean all by myself now.

                Like

                1. Trust yourself, and what you have chosen to do. You’re very strong, that’s why you couldn’t stop yourself from expressing your reason for leaving. Let your strength guide you. It’ll be a bumpy road, you may trip along the way, that’s okay, be gentle with yourself, you’ll get where you’re going and you’ll be fine.

                  Your new adventure may hold many scary things along the way, the unknown is always a bit fearsome, but as you explore, you’ll find allies along the way, and that ocean offers support, sometimes in the most unlikely places.

                  This is your life, live it your way. If your father makes your life hell, use that hell as inspiration to keep going. The kind of breaking free which you’re doing will be painful, but will also bring a lot of solace and will be lasting. The hardest part is the first few steps, the early stages. You’ll be okay. Trust yourself, and be kind to yourself.

                  Best wishes and many blessings. I know it’s hard, but you’re harder. Deep down you know it! 🙂

                  Like

    2. As a child I was never allowed to express myself, even when sad. I was told to FIX the face. I was told I always ruin everything for everybody. I know all too well how painful and isolating it is to be a narcissist’s offspring. I have been `guilted’ into doing things I didn’t want. I sought treatment because I wanted to know what was wrong with me. My therapist told me if I got away from my mother I would be fine, At the time, I didn’t understand. I am over forty and still dealing with my mother. Through therapy I learned to speak of myself in the 1st person and not in the 3rd. Although I have come a long way, I am trying to cut the umbilical cord which unfortunately nourished me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

        I’m in my 40’s too… thought I’d cut the cord in my 30’s but apparently that sort of thing grows back even if you use a really sharp instrument because a narcissist parent never lets go (even when they pretend that you don’t exist).

        My mother once used The Samaritans to regrow the umbilical… I thought, here we go again, I’m the ‘baddie’ and she’s and effing ‘saint’, and everyone always believes her version of the story because they get to play a heroic part in it whereas my version of the story isn’t as interactive… but the guy I spoke to at The Samaritans said – you know what… maybe you should keep doing what you are doing (as in staying No Contact) because she’s not listening and never will. That was one of the first ‘outsiders’ who said something like that to me, got my story and understood what my mother was doing. Like your therapist.

        However getting away from your mother isn’t as easy as going No Contact and cutting her out of your life. Because she planted her seeds inside your psyche when you were a child, and those sort of weeds have deep roots. So even if she is physically out of your life, her words buried themselves within you and it takes time to weed them out properly.

        I’ve done the 3rd person thing, because that’s who you are to a narcissist and who you become to yourself. The 1st person feels strange, but it eventually becomes familiar and as it does, so who you are, the self you hid for safety, comes to the fore and begins to do what you need to do to heal. You learn to stop betraying yourself for the narcissist parent and start to be loyal to you. It takes time, lots of patience, and self-compassion, gentleness and lots of others things which feels weird to do for yourself. As you progress those weird things begin to feel natural and what was once normal becomes abnormal and foreign. You begin to feel right and good about putting yourself first, and feel less and less guilty about it.

        So trust yourself, take care of yourself, and let yourself get used to coming first in your life even if it feels weird. You can do it, you’ve survived a narcissist parent… that’s some major inner strength on your side once you learn to use it for your own benefit.

        Best wishes!

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    3. My dear Nits1987,
      You are not alone. I am about the same age as you are maybe older by months coz am at the beginning of the year. I married young and boy has it been hell. I don,t know but for some reason, my mother pushed me to go ahead and get married after I asked her to cancel it. I had been complaining to anyone who would listen and give me a shoulder to cry on that my soon to be husband had been abusing me emotionally in a very severe manner for a long time and I couldn’t tell anyone coz I was ashamed. No one listened. The whole family said it was for the good of OUR IMAGE (the family). It would be embarrassing if I did not go ahead with it. Sure enough, its been a ride through hell many children later. I stayed with my parents for some time before I started out on my own again. When it was time to move, my mother gave me hell I tell you. I was sad for a long time after I moved away and everyday I felt so guilty for leaving. They wanted me to stay so I would serve their purpose, e.g cooking and cleaning and making sure that I was ALWAYS AT HOME in case anyone at home needed anything. It still makes me mad. I pray everyday that I should never do that to my kids. I am trying to learn to be different from my parents. I love them but there are just times I have to pinch myself when it comes to some of the things they do and wish for me. I told my mother that I am filing for divorce and her only response was ‘if it will ever be granted’. BUT WHY WON’T IT BE GRANTED? I have suffered so much at the hands of my narcissistic sociopath husband, it seems my mother loves to hear me complaining and all she says is ‘stay strong, don’t leave him’. Really? He has brought me STIs and flaunted women before me and told me directly that he would marry one of them and I should stay? REALLY??? I am finding my confidence now and waking up to the fact that I come from a narcissistic family, I married into a family of narcissistic sociopaths who I know will stalk me for months or even years if I leave now but I am leaving, am not staying and my mother for all intents and purposes can clean up her own image and maintain it because I wont let her live her life THROUGH ME. So NITS1987, your parents will continue to isolate you and if you don’t use your knowledge on personality disorders to change your attitude now, you will probably marry into a family that will also isolate you and it will be normal to you because it will be something familiar. I also wonder why I cant keep close friends for a long time, people come and go in my life and the worst thing is that they use me for material gain and hurt me emotionally before they leave. After that, they do a smear campaign for no apparent reason so I have just given up on making new friends and I hide the empathetic side of me because I no longer want to attract these vampires into my life. Talk about my own extended family, its a whole pack of energy sucking vampires. In my culture, its also the norm for girls to live with their parents till marriage so you can imagine what kind of shame a ‘semi-divorced’ me is facing. I JUST DON’T CARE ANYMORE, I WILL LIVE AND BE HAPPY. ALL THE NARCISSISTS IN MY LIFE CAN CRAWL INTO A HOLE RIGHT ABOUT NOW AND STAY THERE.

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      1. Flyinghometome… Thanks for sharing your experience. My folks have also kept me home for their own purposes. Each time I was about to move away- I was blackmailed by words like “will you leave me alone”, “child we miss you and need you to come back”, etc. And the vulnerable empathetic and unaware part of me gave in to their selfish purposes, ignoring or not even thinking about what is right for me.

        But over the last one year I have gained a much clearer understanding of what has been happening. My focus has shifted from keeping others happy to keeping myself happy. Posts like these and souls like you give me further courage to continue to stand up for me. Hopefully soon, I shall be more independent than ever. And yes I am not alone. Thanks. Hugs.

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  39. I’m also the only child of 2 narcissists. No one has ever articulated what it’s like until you with this. I’m so afraid to turn out like them. Pretty sure I need to go cry to someone right now lol. Thank you for this post. It’s really beautiful and true. 🙂

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Being afraid to ‘turn out like them’ is normal for the child of narcissists, in some ways it is the impulse which inspires us to deeply investigate and explore them, ourselves, this subject, and so much more. It’s a creative muse asking us – what makes them them and what makes you you, where are the lines blurred, why are they blurred, and how do you work with those paints on your canvas of life?

      We can never be like them because we are too aware of what they are like and will spot it in ourselves – but only if we are willing to look at ourselves. Being willing to look at ourselves is how we heal ourselves, because we find that all the terrible things which we thought we would find aren’t as prevalent as some very beautiful things which we were not allowed to see by them.

      When a narcissist says – Don’t look there, it’s ugly! – that’s exactly where we should look to see the beauty.

      Take care of yourself, hope the tears are cathartic and refreshing, trust yourself (a big challenge but one worth taking). Best wishes and thank you for sharing 🙂

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